Jerusalem, 13 March 1997

The Palestinian Authority’s Convening of an International Conference: A Violation of Oslo

(Communicated by GPO)

The Oslo Accords established a clear mechanism for the resolution of disputes between Israel and the Palestinians which is firmly based on the principle of bilateral negotiations and mutual conciliation.

In the Declaration of Principles (DOP), which was signed in Washington on September 13, 1993, Israel and the PLO agreed to establish a Joint Israeli-Palestinian Liaison Committee "in order to deal with issues requiring coordination, other issues of common interest, and disputes"

(Article X).

The accord stipulates that any disputes which the parties are unable to overcome in the Committee, "may be resolved by a mechanism of conciliation to be agreed upon by the parties" (Article XV).

The Interim Agreement ("Oslo 2") signed on September 28, 1995, reaffirms the principle that the two sides should resolve their disputes directly and, failing to do so, may resort to other frameworks only via a mutually agreed upon mechanism. Article XXI, entitled "Settlement of Differences and Disputes", states, "Any difference relating to the application of this Agreement shall be referred to the appropriate coordination and cooperation mechanism established under this Agreement."

The article further states that, "The provisions of Article XV of the DOP shall apply to any such difference, which is not settled through the appropriate coordination and cooperation mechanism, namely:

1. Disputes arising out of the application or interpretation of this Agreement or any related agreements pertaining to the interim period shall be settled through the Liaison Committee.

2. Disputes which cannot be settled by negotiations may be settled by a mechanism of conciliation to be agreed between the parties."

Thus, the Oslo Accords clearly and explicitly affirm the principle of resolving disputes directly between the two parties.

The Oslo Accords do provide for the resolution of disputes via arbitration, but this may take place only by mutual consent and not via unilateral measures taken by one side. Article XXI (3) states, "The Parties may agree to submit to arbitration disputes relating to the interim period, which cannot be settled through conciliation. To this end, upon the agreement of both Parties, the Parties will establish an Arbitration Committee."