The Oslo Accords International Law And The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreements

Geoffrey R. Watson, a former Foreign Ministry lawyer specializing in Middle East affairs and currently a professor of law at the Catholic University, wrote the first comprehensive legal analysis of the series of agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, collectively known as the „Oslo Accords”. The author`s main objective, as formulated in the preface, is to answer four questions: „1 Are the Oslo Accords legally binding or are they non-binding political commitments? (2) To what extent has each party complied with its obligations under the agreements? (3) What are the consequences of these violations (if any) on the parties` outstanding obligations in the event of breaches of the agreements? (4) How can international law contribute to a definitive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” (p. vii). These sections are the subject of very systematic discussion, careful discussion and taking into account other arguments, and the conclusions, if not uncontested, are always founded and supported by logic. The author also does an excellent job of providing frequent guides, orientation and redirection of the reader to where the point is located, fits into the book`s largest flow. This is particularly necessary in a work so technical that everyone can be deterred, except the more determined secular reader. The main partial agreements that make up the Oslo Accords are usefully reproduced in annexes to the main text, which spans nearly eighty pages. Keywords: international agreements, international law, Israel, Palestine, Compliance, Oslo Accords The author gains a firmer position in the revision and analysis of the Oslo Accords themselves. Professor Watson rejects the thesis that agreements are binding as treaties, binding declarations, peoples` habits or almost restrictive soft law, and argues that they are nevertheless binding as agreements between subjects of international law. Non-specialist readers may be more interested in this conclusion than in the nuances of the previous discussion, but Professor Watson is doing his own service to clarify his legal basis.

Both Israel and the Palestinians have often violated the agreements and reacted almost uniformly to the violations of the other, but, in the author`s view, they have never been fundamental enough to justify denouncing the agreements. On the contrary, the agreements remain in force and are likely to continue to form the fundamental framework for the peace negotiations that will follow between the two sides. This book presents a legal analysis of the Oslo accords. The book begins with the rejection of proposals that agreements are non-binding political commitments. Rather, it argues that these are binding international agreements between subjects of international law. The book then analyzes Israeli and Palestinian respect for the agreements. It concludes that each party has a mixed compliance record, but that neither party has committed an offence serious enough to warrant the denunciation of the agreements.