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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ashton: Israel cannot back out of Oslo (but the PLO can do what it wants)

From Ma'an:

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said Israel's foreign minister could not undo the Oslo Accords in response to a Palestinian statehood bid at the UN, in an interview with Israeli daily Haaretz published Thursday.

"I'm not sure that it's up to him to declare that Oslo is void really," Ashton said, adding, "I don't accept that Oslo is void, [if] so, it would be a different world."

The EU leader met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Friday as part of tour of the Middle East and meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials in an effort to give peace talks a push.

Ashton confirmed reports that Lieberman said in their meeting Israel could back out of past agreements, including the Oslo Accords that established the Palestinian Authority, if Palestinians seek UN recognition in September.

Lieberman said "something to the effect," Ashton told Haaretz.
I'm not sure about the specific 1993 Oslo agreement, but a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian Arab state is definitely an abrogation of the 1995 Interim Agreement that was part of the Oslo process under Article XXXI:

7. Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.

It is also an abrogation of the 1998 Wye River Memorandum:
V. Unilateral Actions

Recognizing the necessity to create a positive environment for the negotiations, neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in accordance with the Interim Agreement.
Not to mention the identical wording in the 1999 Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum:

10. Recognizing the necessity to create a positive environment for the negotiations, neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in accordance with the Interim Agreement.

Apparently, the EU interpretation of the previous agreements between Israel and the PLO is that the PLO can violate the agreements with impunity but Israel must still adhere to them.

This is not exactly the textbook definition of an "agreement."