The Oslo Disaster 30 Years On

(Israel Affairs) Efraim Karsh - Upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres lauded the "Oslo peace process" between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization not only as the end of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict but as the harbinger of a "New Middle East." Viewed from a 30-year vantage point, the "Oslo peace process" stands as the worst calamity to have afflicted Israelis and Palestinians since the 1948 war. By replacing Israel's control of 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 on their population centers, the Oslo process has made the prospects for peace and reconciliation ever more remote. For Palestinians, it has brought about regimes that have reversed their hesitant advent of civil society, shattered their socioeconomic well-being, and perpetuated the conflict, as their leaders lined their pockets. For Israel, it has established ineradicable terror entities on its doorstep, denting its military and strategic posture, and weakening its international standing. The Oslo process had one major achievement that has gone virtually unnoticed. "As of today, there is a Palestinian state," said Ahmad Tibi, Yasser Arafat's Arab-Israeli advisor, a day after the January 1996 Palestinian Council elections. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin - chief architect of the Oslo process - proclaimed the elections to have irreversibly ended Israel's occupation of Palestinian-populated areas. In one fell swoop, Israel effectively ended its 30-year-long control of the West Bank and Gaza's populace. Since then, 99% of the Palestinians in these territories have not lived under Israeli "occupation" but under Palestinian rule. Yet, rather than use the end of occupation as a springboard for bilateral negotiations on the future of the largely unpopulated West Bank territories still under Israel's control (Area C), the Palestinians have sought to damage their "peace partner" at every turn. This is because the PLO viewed the Oslo Accords as a "Trojan Horse" (to use the words of PLO official Faisal Husseini) designed to promote the strategic goal of "Palestine from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea" - that is, in place of Israel. As Arafat told a skeptical associate shortly before moving to Gaza (in 1994), "I know that you are opposed to the Oslo Accords, but you must always remember what I'm going to tell you. The day will come when you will see thousands of Jews fleeing Palestine....The Oslo Accords will help bring this about." No sooner had Arafat made his triumphant entry to Gaza than he began constructing an extensive terrorist infrastructure in flagrant violation of the accords. He refused to disarm Hamas and Islamic Jihad as required and tacitly approved the murder of hundreds of Israelis by these terror groups. As a result, terrorism in the territories spiraled. The writer 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 at Bar-Ilan University.

2023-08-21 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive