The Anniversary of Oslo: 20 Years of Fiction, Fantasy and Failure
By Matthew M. Hausman
The Oslo Accords have dictated the quest for Arab-Israeli peace since the 1990s, and yet they constitute a profound threat to Israeli sovereignty in the Jewish homeland. Focused on validating Palestinian peoplehood, the Oslo process came to control the dialogue as if it had been the paradigm from the beginning. However, at the time of its inception Oslo was only the latest in a succession of resolutional frameworks after San Remo, the League of Nations Mandate, and U.N. Resolution 242, all of which had presumed the historicity of Jewish claims, not the ascendancy of a Palestinian nationalism that did not yet exist.
Indeed, until the mid- to late-1960s, the Arab-Muslim world had steadfastly refused to impute a separate national identity to Arabs who resided in Mandate lands before 1948, the majority of whom were immigrants or the progeny of immigrants who had no ancestral connection to the land. Palestinian nationality was invented only later as a dissimulative tool for repudiating Jewish historical claims. The Palestinians have never seriously sought peace with Israel, and their push last year for upgraded U.N. status served only to illustrate their cynical contempt for both concept and process.
Article 31 of the Oslo Accords specifically states: “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.” The Palestinian Authority’s U.N. initiative clearly violated this provision and arguably abrogated the accords. Although this breach was glaring, it was by no means the Palestinians’ first substantive violation. Since the beginning of the Oslo process, the PA has failed to honor its obligations, minimal though they have been compared to the demands placed on Israel. In contrast, Israel has honored her commitments, even when doing so has threatened her security and national integrity.
Israel granted Palestinian autonomy in much of Judea and Samaria, permitted the PA to arm itself, unfroze and transferred funds to the Palestinians, and fueled a territorial economy that provides the highest standard of living in the Arab-Muslim world. She has also tolerated Palestinian military activity, though the PA’s security forces have been linked to terrorism, and has continued to service the electrical and utility needs of the territories. As a recent concession to induce the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, Israel released from her prisons a cohort of jihadists and terrorists responsible for the deaths of many men, women and children.
In contrast, the PA has failed to renounce terrorism, foreswear antisemitic incitement, or truly amend the language of its charter calling for Israel’s destruction, despite ambiguous claims to the contrary. It has also stated repeatedly that it will never recognize a Jewish state. Consequently, no one should have been surprised when the Palestinians walked away from negotiations after Israel took preventive military action against three terrorists in Ramallah who were poised to attack Israeli soldiers and civilians in Bet El.
Ever since the signing of the Interim Agreement of 1995 (“Oslo II”), the PA has been in perpetual breach of Article XVII (1a), which prohibits it from operating in Jerusalem and deciding “issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, settlements, specified military locations, Palestinian refugees, borders, foreign relations and Israelis.” The PA has breached this provision by illegally operating ministries and institutions throughout Jerusalem. The rogues’ gallery of unlawful PA entities includes: the Palestinian Ministry of Education, which disseminates antisemitic and anti-Western educational materials; the Ministry for Jerusalem Affairs, which organizes and sponsors protests against Israel; the Ministry of Information/WAFA, an official Palestinian news agency that routinely publishes antisemitic content; and the Office of the Mufti of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, which prohibits land sales to Jews, denies the historical Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, rejects Israel’s right to exist, and sponsors sermons at the Al-Aksa Mosque calling for jihad and genocide.
The same hypocrites who accuse Israel of obstructing peace routinely ignore the PA’s blanket disregard for a treaty that it endorsed officially, albeit disingenuously. They denounce Israel for violating the accords, although she is the only signatory to have upheld her obligations. The refusal of the Obama Administration and the European Union to condemn PA violations, and their willingness instead to reward the Palestinians for their continuing acts of incitement, violence and terror, only reinforce the need for Israel to reject outside pressure in favor of alternatives that make historical and strategic sense.
The land-for-peace formula presumes that the conflict is about geography and that all the Arabs want is yet another independent state of their own. However, the refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist and the doctrinal prohibition against permanent peace with a subjugated people expose the concept as an exercise in taqiyya – religiously mandated dissimulation for the purpose of deceiving “infidels” and furthering the aims of jihad.
Many people today believe that creating an independent state called Palestine will resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict and bring peace to the Mideast. However, this belief presumes that the Palestinians – not the Jews – were indigenous to the Land of Israel, that they lived there for thousands of years until their displacement in 1948, that the Jews are colonial occupiers, and that the conflict is driven by Palestinian dislocation. In truth, however, the Palestinians are historical latecomers to the former Mandate lands. There never was a country called Palestine or an ancestral, native culture that could be remotely construed as “Palestinian.” Only the Jews have had a continuous presence in and connection to the land since antiquity.
The Arab-Israeli conflict is not a dispute over the rights of the Palestinians. If it were, Jordan and Egypt would have created a Palestinian state when they occupied Judea, Samaria and Gaza from 1948 to 1967. However, there was no outcry for the establishment of a Palestinian state – either from the world community or from the Palestinians themselves – during the nearly 20 years of illegal occupation by Egypt and Jordan.
The ugly truth is that the Arab-Israeli conflict is not about repatriating Palestinians to a land they never owned in the first place, but about destroying the Jewish State. Establishing a Palestinian state will not facilitate peace because the ultimate objective of the conflict is the extermination of Israel and her people, not amicable coexistence. The two-state paradigm is merely a stealth strategy in a war of annihilation that is being waged against Israel in many forms and on many fronts, and the creation of a Palestinian state is intended only as the first step towards achieving this malevolent goal
The Arab-Muslim goal of destroying Israel has never changed, only the method for achieving it. Those who naïvely believe the PA has ever acted in good faith would do well to review its charter, which refuses to recognize a Jewish State, or examine its officially sanctioned educational curricula, which teach genocidal antisemitism and revisionist history to impressionable school children. The purpose of this indoctrination is not to teach truth or morality, but to assure the growth of yet another generation willing to kill and be killed for a cause that is based on hatred, rejectionism and myth.
Israel cannot survive as a secure Jewish homeland by continuing down the Oslo path or by participating in a process imposed by outside powers that respect neither her sovereignty nor her historical validity, regardless of whether that process is being peddled by the Obama Administration, the European Union or the Saudi royal family. Though there are pros and cons to any potential alternatives, Israel can at least take charge of her own destiny by unilaterally pursuing a resolution that makes legal, historical and demographic sense, and which presumes her moral legitimacy and sovereign integrity.
If she continues to proceed under Oslo or some other misguided framework that elevates the revisionist Palestinian narrative over Jewish history, Israel will risk compromising not only her security, but her continuity as the Jewish national homeland. At the end of the day, only Israel has an interest in ensuring the survival of her national character in a manner consistent with her historical rights and cultural values. No foreign intercessor will do it for her.
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