The article examines how Israel related to the threat that Hamas posed to the peace process, both during the talks that led to the signing of the Declaration of Principles (December 1992–September 1993) and then until the signing of the Oslo 2 agreement (September 1995). The Israeli negotiators and leaders were locked into the idea that the PLO would “deal with Hamas” because of its clear interest to do so. During the talks, however, there was no detailed discussion of the matter. Instead, the negotiators focused—and with full justification—on the important achievement of an accord with the PLO and its agreement to refrain from terrorism. This, reinforced by the assumption that the PLO would suppress Hamas, paved the way for the signing of the Declaration of Principles without any concrete attention to Hamas. Thus Hamas terrorism proved to be a major obstacle to the fulfillment of the Oslo Accords. Hamas bomb attacks killed many Israelis and undermined Israelis’ faith in the process. In parallel, the IDF activity to thwart Hamas, which involved major operations on the ground, as well as the accords’ failure to produce an economic upturn for the Palestinians, diminished their support for the agreement.
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- Arab-Israeli conflict
- Oslo Accords
- peace process