Over the years, the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians has become infamous around the world. The many reasons behind the conflict are way too numerous to explain, but mostly boil down to two groups of people really wanting the same land. On September 13, 1993, however, both sides met on the White House lawn to sign what has become known as the “Oslo Accords.”

What’s everyone fighting over?

If you want to understand what the fighting’s all about, it’s important to realize that the piece of land that both the Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs are fighting over is no ordinary one. Both sides not only trace thousands of years worth of history back to the land but also consider several sites within the territory super holy to both the Jewish and Muslim religions.  That said, both sides feel that a great deal of national and religious pride is at stake.

In the early 20th century, many Jews were fleeing the massive persecution of Europe and decided to establish a national home base. This lead to the establishment of Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, within the territory in 1948. The only problem was that, at the time, the land was inhabited by a mostly Arab, Muslim-majority population who were like, “We don’t think so, this is our land and it’s called Palestine.” Ever since the two sides have been fighting each other over who controls the land and has the right to live there.

The handshake seen round the world

Finally, in the early 1990s, the leaders of both sides decided that it was time to move towards peace in the Middle East. So they met on the White House lawn, in a ceremony presided over by Bill Clinton, and signed the Oslo Accords, which were an attempt to move towards a peaceful cohabitation in the area. The world watched as Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, shook hands and said several really beautiful quotes about how it was time to get it together and live in peace.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as swimmingly as anyone had hoped in the long run. Israeli-Palestinian peace is still at bay, with extremists on both sides still refusing to coexist. How the conflict will ultimately end is still up for grabs, but the Oslo Accords were a sort of cornerstone for those who hope that peace can someday be achieved.