Israel During the Oslo Peace Process

Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, September 13, 1993

What has Israel experienced during the “Oslo Peace Process”?

The Oslo Accords (or “Declaration of Principles On Interim Self-Government Arrangements”) were signed on September 13, 1993 by representatives of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The Washington ceremony was hosted by US President Bill Clinton who smiled as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin ended decades as sworn enemies with an uneasy handshake.
That was the formal beginning of the "Peace Process" designed to bring the hostilities between Arabs and Israelis to an end, but that hope has not been fulfilled. In fact, the Israelis have been subject to increasing attacks, deaths, injuries, and loss of property since the Oslo process began. And the carnage has escalated since Yasser Arafat rejected an historic offer of concessions from Israeli Prime Minister Barak at Camp David in July 2000 and began the al-Aqsa intifada in September 2000. The Israelis now have a name for this time period: the Oslo War. The Oslo Accords committed both parties to a range of obligations. Since then, claims of "Oslo violations" have come thick and fast. The interim agreements were intended to build trust between the parties as preparation for negotiations on a final settlement. As is now clear, however, Israel found little reason to regard the PLO as a trustworthy partner, and little hope of future peaceful coexistence with a Palestinian state on its border. With 20-20 hindsight it is now clear that the Oslo process, "land for peace", has only encouraged Israel's enemies. The terrorist violence has risen and fallen since 1993, but the trend line is always up, more violence and terror directed against Israel and Jewish people in the territories. There is always an excuse -- the settlements, the refugees, the checkpoints, etc. etc. -- but even as Israel has partially withdrawn, has given the Palestinian Authority control of 95% of the Palestinian population, has offered more and more concessions and has agreed to peace plan after peace plan, all that comes back from the Palestinians is terror and more demands. This reality was confirmed by one of the leading Palestinian moderates, Faisal Husseini. Shortly before his fatal heart attack in 2001, he openly admitted that Oslo was:

  • "a Trojan Horse . . . just a temporary procedure . . . just a step towards something bigger." Husseini said that something bigger is "Palestine from the river to the sea," i.e., from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, eradicating Israel. Oslo? Just a way of "ambushing the Israelis and cheating them."
Oslo gave the PLO an army, autonomy, money and territory -- the perfect base from which to fight for the ultimate eradication of Israel. As a result of Oslo, Hamas was able to develop unchecked, under the protection of the PLO, which allows free movement to Hamas members, and supports them and their families. Islamic religious education in the terrories has been used to develop a fanatic hatred of Israel, under PLO protection. The Oslo process prevented Israel's security forces from acting to prevent the growth in extremism. The catalog of PLO/Palestinian Authority violations of Oslo is a staggering testament to Israel's foolishness in sticking to the process so long. But Israel was always under tremendous international pressure, not least from the United States, to be moderate and attempt to find a peaceful settlement with the terrorist organization that opposed it. The Labor and peace parties in Israel kept the fantasy alive, at least until the July 2000 collapse at Camp David and the al-Aqsa intifada pushed them past endurance. It is now well understood that there is no partner for peace on the Palestinian side of the table and the Oslo process is considered dead.

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