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Backstage, IDEON Science Park

The Extraordinary Story of Oslo 1993

Thirty years have passed since the Oslo Accords were signed. Oslo was an unusual and quite fascinating event, certainly from an Israeli perspective.

In its first phase, only one Israeli official was involved, indirectly. This was the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs at that time, Yossi Beilin. Beilin preferred to be behind the scenes, not in the negotiation room.

The direct negotiations were conducted by two Israeli academics, Drs Yair Hirschfeld and Ron Pundak. Prime Minister Rabin and Foreign Minister Peres were unaware of the initial talks. They were only aware of the official talks in Washington.

In the second phase, two more Israelis joined the Israeli delegation: A private lawyer from Washington DC, Joel Singer, and the new Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Uri Savir, who knew little about the major contentions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Up until that point, Savir was never involved in any negotiations with Palestinians. This rather strange group succeeded, for the first time, to sign an agreement with the PLO.

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