The Agreement on the Gaza Strip and Jericho Area, the first such agreement which grants Palestinians a measure of autonomy, is signed in a ceremony in Cairo. The agreement states that Israel withdraw its military forces from the Gaza Strip and Jericho Area, in accordance with Article XIII of the Declaration of Principles. The withdrawal is to be completed within three weeks of signing the agreement.
The ceremony is briefly interrupted when a disagreement arises between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat over maps that show the withdrawal will be from a smaller Jericho area than Arafat had wanted. A compromise is reached in which Arafat adds a letter expressing that the two parties continue discussion on the size of the Jericho Area; the positioning of a Palestinian official at the Allenby bridge; additional arrangement in the Rafah passage; and all outstanding issues specified in the Agreement.
The Gaza Strip-Jericho Agreement is a follow-up agreement to the September 1993 Oslo Accords and puts the implementation of those Accords into process and reaffirms the desire for the Israelis and Palestinians to live in peaceful coexistence, dignity and security, while recognizing their mutual legitimate and political rights. The Agreement asserts an ongoing attempt to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement through continued diplomacy.
The Agreement calls for the creation of a Palestinian Authority to serve as an interim self-government once the transfer of authority in those areas has been completed. The PA will be created three weeks later with Yasser Arafat as its head. Those living in Israeli settlements remain subject to Israeli law and Israeli vehicles are barred from entering the areas outlined without a special permit.
The photo shows PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, American Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Mahmoud Abbas of the PLO watching Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signing the agreement.
Photo Source: Israel Government Press Office, Tzvika Israeli.