THEY were supposed to lay the ground for lasting peace and to help realise the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

But 25 years after the Oslo Accords between Israel and and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), international aid agency Oxfam says their legacy is one of “broken promises” and “hopelessness” for young Palestinians.

In a new photo essay for the charity, internationally renowned photographer Lorenzo Tugnoli captures the stories of Palestinians born since the signing of the accords by Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and Palestine’s Yasser Arafat.

Titled “The Oslo Generation”, it is said to capture lives that have been “shaped by a systematic denial of rights”. Those born since 1993 have never seen a parliamentary election and Tugnoli said: “I met young people who feel they have been left to their own devices for the past 25 years, who should have lived in a better world than that of their parents, but history has not served them well.

“They are industrious and smart but without any input into the land in which they live. They have a real sense of being let down. People are creating their own realities, their own subcultures – but with little opportunity to come together to be part of something bigger that could lead to peace.”

The accords included a timetable for peace and plans for limited Palestinian government in Gaza and Jericho.

But today divisions remain deeply rooted. The Great Return March earlier this year resulted in serious violence when Israeli border troops fired on Palestinians marking the “Nakba”, or disaster, when 700,000 had to leave their homes to make way for the new Jewish state in 1948.

Now more than half of the population of the Occupied Palestinian Territory is aged 29 and under. More than 40 per cent of 15-29-year-olds are unemployed and 70% say their future is bleak.

Keen skater Rajab, 23, said: “My father told me that things were better before Oslo, people were able to work in decent jobs, there was a constant electricity supply, there was no restriction of movement, we had an airport where you were able to fly anywhere. And then things got worse after I was born – after Oslo.”

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Engineering graduate Sae’ed, 24, works as a fisherman with his father and brothers. Although the Oslo Accords stated a 20 nautical mile (NM) fishing zone, today activities are limited to between six and nine NM, and at times even less. The limits are thought to cost Gazans $26 million dollars a year and Sae’ed said: “I will always be a fisherman, not because I want to but because there is nothing else to do.

“My father told me before Oslo it was easier to fish in the sea.

“I’m trapped in Gaza. The blockade and occupation deprived me the chance to a normal life, finding a decent job, and I cannot travel because crossings are always closed.”

Labourer Mohammad Al-A’raj wants to build a home on his land near Bethlehem, but the Israeli planning regime there makes it “almost impossible” for Palestinians to obtain building warrants, Oxfam says. More than 15,000 Palestinian structures have been demolished since the Oslo Accords and more than 94% of Palestinian applications have been rejected in recent years.

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Mohammad said: “If Oslo was not signed, I would be able to get a license to build a house or anything I want on my own land.

“Oslo did not accomplish anything, on the contrary it made things worse.”

Meanwhile, the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank has gone from 262,500 in 1993 to almost 600,000 today, despite recognition by a number of governments that their settlements violate international law and are a major obstacle to achieving peace between Israel and Palestine.

Israel controls 80% of Palestinian water resources and Israeli settlers use approximately six times the water utilised by the 2.6m Palestinians in the West Bank.

Most settlements are close to water resources, which Palestinians are restricted from accessing, and while Israeli settlers in the Jordan Valley use large quantities of water to grow agricultural produce for export, farmer Suhaib Aref says he struggles to work the land he rents.

The 23-year-old says the fields owned by his family were confiscated by Israelis, adding: “The situation in general is getting worse and worse in regards to the water supply. The Israelis are supplying the majority of the water to the settlements, and we get scraps.

“I want to live a normal life. Build a house, open a small business for myself so eventually I live in a little peace away from the hardships of my daily life. And I do not see myself accomplishing this very simple dream in a simple way. I know the way will be very hard and I will suffer to get to accomplish it.”

Architect Aya, 27, dreams of running a large-scale design factory. She currently operates a carpentry workshop recycling wooden pallets into furniture.

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More than 70% of women are unemployed in Gaza, where overall joblessness stood at less than 10% in the 1990s. Aya said: “There was a very important term in the Oslo agreement which is guaranteeing the right of self-determination for Palestinians. But until now that has never happened. Israel determines our future.

“I’m denied and forbidden any sense of security or safety. I lived through three wars, wars on Gaza 2008, 2012, and 2014. I also lived through the second intifada in 2000.

“I’m turning 30 in three years. I lost the biggest part of my youth suffering from the blockade and wars.”

She went on: “Eventually I want to open a very big factory and expand my business. But in order for that to happen, the economic situation needs to be good, and as long as we are under blockade that is not going to happen.”

Once a thriving commercial hub, Hebron was cut in two as a result of the Oslo Accords, and 500 Israeli settlers – who have the backing of several thousand soldiers – now have control of the city centre.

Access to the main market street was closed to Palestinians in 1994 and more than 1800 Palestinian businesses have closed since 2000, when the local economy collapsed.

Meanwhile, Oxfam says violence from settlers is on the rise.

Student teacher Sundos Al Azzeh, 24, said: “Before Oslo, life was better. The only thing that separated Palestinian cities was directions – east, west, south, and north. Life was beautiful and easy. Trading and business was better. Everything was better. There was no violence, there was more freedom, freedom of movement, education was better, and so was health conditions.

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“I have to go through a checkpoint every day to go to work and back home.

“My dream is to wake up to a free country where there is no occupation anymore.”

She added: “Oslo did not promise me anything, whatever I want to happen for me as a young Palestinian, I will accomplish by myself. I will make it happen.”

Chris Eijkemans, Oxfam OPT country director, said: “The temporary agreement which promised an end to occupation, stability in the region and a path towards peace has become a dead-end.

“Instead of peace, Palestinians live with 760 kilometers of walls, limited movement, fewer rights, less land, separated families, more illegal settlements, settler violence and more Israeli control over their land and resources than ever before.”