February 9, 1994
Five months after the signing of the Declaration of Principles (DOP) on the White House lawn, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat sign an agreement in Cairo. The partial agreement focuses on Palestinian self-rule and security cooperation in Gaza and Jericho as an interim first step towards an overall agreement. In the agreement, Israel continues to be the ultimate source of political authority.
Four days before the Cairo meeting, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin appeared on CNN to outline some of the issues that were holding up an interim plan for Gaza and Jericho. The Prime Minister stated, “The points of friction are thousands. And therefore, the most important part is to translate the DOP into something that will be workable on the ground. We worry first and foremost for our security, the security of the Israelis. And therefore, we would like to work out an agreement that will be detailed, clear; that there will be no differences that might create friction and a collapse of everything that we are trying to achieve.” (For a transcript of the complete interview: http://tinyurl.com/pgz5uex)
As late as three days before the Cairo Agreement, the meeting was still in doubt. Both sides agreed that if the basic issues of withdrawal and security in both Gaza and Jericho were not decided beforehand, the meeting would not take place and negotiations would continue. The day before on February 8th, the PLO declared that Arafat would remain as President of the Palestinians for another five years, providing additional stability to the negotiations. Arafat would be elected President by a landslide vote in the Palestinian elections in January 1996.
After two days of marathon meetings including mediation by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Peres and Arafat were able to agree on most of the differences and the agreement was signed. The agreement delineated on the size of the Jericho area, security cooperation and responsibilities, and border crossings. More detailed talks would resume five days later at Taba.
The photo shows the Jerusalem Post from February 10, 1994.
The complete Israel-PLO agreement is available at: http://tinyurl.com/qbe5qpy