Waiting for Oslo

Twenty years after the historic agreement, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are talking again. The delay has only made a peace deal more elusive. Photographs by Cédric Gerbehaye

Two decades ago, the word Oslo evoked everything the Middle East normally refuses to provide: hope, trust and compromise. Israelis and Palestinians, two peoples claiming the same biblical lands, had rarely talked peace with each other before in a serious way. Then, in the space of four months, their leaders secretly agreed on a set of plans — the Oslo accords — that promised an end, once and for all, to the violent conflict between them.

Twenty years later, the agreement is on life support. A physical barrier now keeps Palestinians who live in the West Bank out of Israel. Palestinians have less income, less land and much less freedom than they did in 1993. Israeli policies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have doubled the number of Jewish settlers living there since 1993. As Cédric Gerbehaye's photographs of Palestinians and Israelis living in the West Bank show, this is a land whose people are always on edge and often at blows.

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