The ideological disaster of Oslo

By Vic Rosenthal

Yasser Arafat waves the second Oslo agreement as Shimon Peres looks onYasser Arafat waves the second Oslo agreement as Shimon Peres looks on

A lot of you liked yesterday’s post, probably because you have had more than enough of the dangerous nonsense that has become the conventional wisdom about Israel in the West. Western politicians and journalists have adopted the Arab narrative, which portrays Israel as the cause of its conflicts and its creation as a kind of original sin. Needless to say, the only acceptable ‘cure’ is to slice up and emasculate Israel so that it can more easily be gobbled up.

It’s easy to say that they are bribed and blackmailed by our enemies, afraid of or pandering to their Muslim populations, or indoctrinated by left-wing academics. All of these things are true, but there is another reason that so many in Europe and the US have adopted an ahistorical, counterfactual and immoral story as gospel.

To a great extent Israel is responsible for subverting its own narrative, and I think we can point to a specific event that marked a turning point.

On September 13, 1993, PM Rabin signed the “Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements” along with Yasser Arafat and Bill Clinton, the so-called ‘Oslo I‘ agreement. I have argued that this was the single greatest mistake — rising to the level of criminal negligence —  ever made by any Israeli government.

From a strategic point of view, it elevated the moribund PLO from an irrelevant terrorist organization to a pseudo-government, with territory, an army, and the legitimacy to receive what turned out to be a massive subsidy (including weapons and training for its army) from the West. It enabled the exiled gunmen of the PLO who were sitting isolated in Tunis to move into the heart of the land of Israel, where they could, and did, strike at its Jewish residents.

The Oslo accord led directly to numerous terror attacks, culminating in the Second Intifada, during which more than a thousand Israeli Jews were murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists. The wave of bloody murder happening right now can be blamed on the ‘educational system’ and incitement begun by Arafat and continued by his successor, Mahmoud Abbas.

Someone recently said to me “true, but we had to try.” I disagree: I called it ‘criminal negligence’ because by 1993 we knew precisely who and what Yasser Arafat and the PLO were. If ever there was a case of what lawyers call the “should have known standard,” this was it.

(Let me just note that I don’t place all, or even most, of the blame on Rabin. He was both blindsided by the ‘architects of Oslo’, Yossi Beilin and Shimon Peres, and pressured by Clinton. But this is another post).

What is also important and often ignored is the psychological and ideological damage done by Oslo. It comprised no less than the adoption of the false Arab narrative by Israel.

The preamble to the agreement reads as follows:

The Government of the State of Israel and the P.L.O. team (in the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to the Middle East Peace Conference) (the “Palestinian Delegation”), representing the Palestinian people, agree that it is time to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, recognize their mutuallegitimate and political rights, and strive to live in peaceful coexistence and mutual dignity and security and achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process…

In other words, there is a “Palestinian people” whose representative is the PLO and they have “legitimate and political rights.” They are a people who have been denied their rights (by Israel), and they deserve redress.

Note that this doesn’t just mean that Arabs have human rights, which is true but trivial. It doesn’t mean that Arabs living under Israeli rule should have civil rights, which is more significant, but still reasonable. It means that the ‘Palestinians’, as a people, havepolitical rights in the land of Israel.

In one swoop, we have given up the principles of the Mandate, which held the land in trust for the national home of the Jewish people and no other. We have accepted the self-definition of the Palestinian Arabs as a people with a claim on the land, which needs to be resolved in a ‘just’ manner. They are no longer Arabs (many of whom were recent immigrants from Syria or Egypt) who happened to live in the area in 1948, but a distinct people with a right to self-determination equal to ours.

Of course their self-determination has been defined (by them) as being incompatible with ours, and therefore the argument is made that the creation of Israel was an unjust act.

The academic post-colonialists go further and define the Palestinians as a colonized people, which implies that they get to kill us in pursuit of their ‘legitimate rights’ and we don’t get to defend ourselves.

And since 1993 we have gone along with most of this! Even our Likud government holds that there should be a “two-state solution,” albeit with various caveats intended to keep it from destroying Israel.

All, however, is not lost. The PLO has violated the Oslo accords in multiple ways, including by terrorism, incitement, failure to educate for peace, and — in a fundamental way — by unilaterally seeking recognition from the UN without making an agreement with Israel. In this way they expect to get everything they want without giving anything in return.

This makes it possible for Israel to declare that the Oslo agreements are null and void. But at the same time, it should issue a declaration of principles which contradicts the ideological misconceptions of Oslo. It should re-enunciate the principles embodied in the Mandate, and make clear that we do not recognize a ‘Palestinian’ nationality with a right of self-determination in the land of Israel.

This doesn’t mean that Israel should annex all of Judea and Samaria. It doesn’t preclude ceding some land to Jordan, for example, or creating autonomous Arab regions.

But it does mean that Israel is not obligated to allow the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian terror state on its eastern border.

December 12, 2014 | 6 Comments »

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6 Comments / 6 Comments

  1. One thing that could be done is for someone to finance some level of distribution of the book “Phantom Nation” by Sha’i ben-Tekoa which is a thoroughly researched examination and proof that Palestinian peoplehood is a fiction. I recently ordered the book and have not read it but I attended a lecture ben-Tekoa gave where he spoke about what’s in his research. The book could only be ordered from overseas because, for some reason? (I’d have to ask the author) it’s not available in Israel. This book should be readily available and it’s distribution promoted in Israel. The title alone speaks volumes. If anybody has any financial resources to sponsor such a distribution I encourage them to do so. It’s a simple educational measure that could go far in terms of aiding Israeli hasbara in ISRAEL.

  2. Abrogate Oslo! The disaster caused by Oslo is a self inflicted disaster caused by government after government failure to end it once and for all. No step by step process. Every minute lost, is another life or many lives lost.

  3. Abrogate Oslo! The disaster caused by Oslo is a self inflicted disaster caused by government after government failure to end it once and for all. No step by step process. Every minute lost, is another life lost.

  4. The PLO no longer represent the so called “palestinian people”, and Hamas rejects Oslo….seems obvious to me. Oslo is DEAD. It is like an automobile wrecked in the junk yard. The junked car is worth more because the parts can be sold. Oslo was far WORSE, than a total loss. It will make me SICK to account for the loss of life and extent of the injuries.
    Thanks Peres. Question how could this man after all he did, get to be President.
    All he ever really cared about was himself.
    Peres will never come clean.

  5. Can a plan be proposed that would be a step by step process for ending the Oslo Agreement. Can the plan lead to an organizer of a team to initiate this action? Speaking is one thing, taking action is the only thing that will make a difference. The window of time for doing this is likely short. It appears that this challenge needs to be addressed ASAP if at all possible. Please take this article to the next step that will make a difference.

  6. Not sure we can at this juncture undo the horrendous and self-inflicted damage wrought by Oslo. But there is no other choice but to try and spare no resources in the effort.