February 25Baruch Goldstein, a settler from Kiryat Arba, murders 29 Palestinian worshipers and wounds 125 others in the Cave of the Patriarchs/Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. In demonstrations following the incident, nine Palestinians are killed by Israeli security forces. Among the measures Israel takes to “restore public order” is closure of a-Shuhada Street, the main street in the Old City of Hebron, to Palestinian vehicles. A state commission of inquiry, headed by Justice Meir Shamgar, which is appointed following the incident, criticizes the police for not being sufficiently active with respect to the settlers in the Occupied Territories. The commission recommends a number of reforms regarding enforcement of the law on settlers in the West Bank, the major reform being concentration of investigative powers in the hands of the police.
April 29The Paris Protocol, which regulates economic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), is signed. Among its provisions, the protocol establishes a customs union between Israel and the PA. Israel undertakes to allow free access of Palestinian workers into Israel and of Palestinian goods to the Israeli market, as well as to transfer to the PNA the customs, VAT, and employment taxes that it collects for it. Ever since, Israel has been using transfer of these monies as a means of pressuring the Palestinian Authority.
May 16The IDF withdraws its forces from the Gaza Strip, except for the settlements and the roads leading to them. For the first time in seven years, the night curfew on the Gaza Strip is removed.
JuneFollowing the recommendation of the Shamgar Commission, which investigated the massacre in Hebron Mosque, the SHAI [Samaria and Judea] District of the Israel Police is formed for the purpose of improving law enforcement on the settlers. However, the district will be understaffed and will not be accorded sufficient technical facilities.
July 1Following the signing of the Declaration of Principles [the Oslo I agreement], Yasser Arafat and the top PLO leadership arrive in Gaza from Tunis. Four days later, Arafat is declared president of the Palestinian National Authority. The PA begins to assume authority for civil matters (education, health, welfare, payment of salaries, and so forth) in the self-government areas—the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area.
SeptemberFollowing a number of suicide attacks carried out by the Hamas in response to the massacre in Hebron, the Ministerial Committee for General Security Service Matters expands the permission for using torture that was given by the Landau Commission and allows the Shabak to use “increased physical pressure” in its interrogations.
December 10The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres.