T. Belman. I often wonder how could anyone have been so stupid as to believe this was good for Israel or that the leopard, Arafat, has changed its spots. Much of the blame has to be put on the US shoulders as they applied enormous pressure to achieve this agreement. Surely it did not have Israel’s best interests at heart. And it still doesn’t have our best interests at heart.
Remember this as we head into negotiations for normalization. Arab promises are worthless. Normalization means nothing and can always be reversed. If the Saudis want to normalize with us, they can just do it. They don’t need anything from us including an agreement.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Thirty years after its euphoric launch, the “Oslo peace process” between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) stands as the worst calamity to have afflicted Israelis and Palestinians since the 1948 war, and the most catastrophic strategic blunder in Israel’s history. By replacing Israel’s control of the West Bank and Gaza Palestinians with corrupt and repressive terrorist entities that indoctrinated their subjects with burning hatred of Jews and Israelis, as well as murdered some 2,000 Israelis and rained thousands of rockets and missiles on their population centers, the Oslo process has made the prospects for peace and reconciliation ever more remote.
By deflating the fighting spirit and combative ethos of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), it has weakened Israel’s national security and made the outbreak of a multi-front war—a scenario that effectively vanished after the 1973 war—a distinct possibility.
By transforming the PLO (and, to a lesser extent, Hamas) into internationally accepted political actors without forcing them to shed their genocidal commitment to the Jewish state’s destruction, it weakened Israel’s international standing and subjected it to sustained de-legitimization campaigns. And by deepening Israel’s internal cleavages and destabilizing its sociopolitical system, it has created a clear and present danger to the Jewish State’s thriving democracy, indeed to its very existence.
Efraim Karsh is emeritus professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King’s College London and former director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.