In the last episode of this six-part series, Al Jazeera looks at the PLO’s peace negotiations and the events that led to the second intifada, the PLO’s decline and Arafat’s death.
There was a promise of a new world order in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War. Negotiations resumed and for the first time in many years, there was renewed hope of progress towards a peace in the region.
On August 20, 1993 Israeli and Palestinian negotiators reached accord in Oslo – agreeing on a framework for resolving their decades-long conflict.
On September 13, 1993 Yitzak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister, and Yasser Arafat, the PLO leader, shook hands and sealed the deal at the White House.
In July 1994, Arafat returned to Gaza after 27 years.
But the challenges of nation-building proved overwhelming and new political forces were emerging within Palestinian society that would threaten the role and the relevance of the PLO.
Final status issues such as the status of Jerusalem, security, borders and refugees, remained unresolved.
In 2000, Ehud Barak, Israel’s former prime minister, convinced Bill Clinton, the then US president, of the need to convene a meeting with Arafat in the US to resolve the final issues.
Arafat rejected Barak’s proposals at Camp David, returned to Gaza and received a hero’s welcome for refusing to accept what the Palestinians viewed as unacceptable.
Just weeks later, the second intifada erupted, triggered by Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount. The Palestinians had lost hope with the diplomatic approach.
Amid the death and violence of the new intifada, Hamas increased its role and its power-base in the occupied territories.
In spring of 2002, Israeli forces surrounded Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah and set out to systematically destroy all the instruments of Palestinian state infrastructure.
Arafat held out until October, when he was struck down by a mysterious illness and eventually died in a Paris hospital.