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The Oslo AccordsA Critical Assessment$
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Petter Bauck and Mohammed Omer

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9789774167706

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774167706.001.0001

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Champions of Peace? Tools in Whose Hands? Norwegians and Peace Brokering in the Middle East

Champions of Peace? Tools in Whose Hands? Norwegians and Peace Brokering in the Middle East

(p.29) 3 Champions of Peace? Tools in Whose Hands? Norwegians and Peace Brokering in the Middle East
The Oslo Accords

Hilde Henriksen Waage

American University in Cairo Press

Norway played a key role in the secret talks between representatives of the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships, which led to the declaration of principles that paved the way for the establishment of the Palestinian Self-Government Authority and mutual recognition between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This chapter considers the very special relationship that existed between Norway and Israel long before the exciting days of the secret Norwegian back channel. Is this political past insignificant or decisive when it comes to understanding and explaining Norway's role in the Oslo back channel? Even more important, why did Israelis as well as Palestinians find Norway, of all countries, acceptable as a mediating partner? The Oslo peace process reflected the fundamentally asymmetrical power situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians, with Israel as the stronger party and the PLO as the weaker party. What room for maneuver did such a basic asymmetry of power provide for the Norwegians?

Keywords:   Norway, Israel, Oslo Accords, back channel, peace process, Palestinians, Israelis, Palestine Liberation Organization

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