Depending on the pundit, the Oslo Accords were at best a broken dream, at worst a deadly disaster. No one calls them a success.
Thirty years ago this month, in 1993, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed the first of the Oslo Accords, a series of agreements intended to create a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel signed the accords believing that if the Palestinian Arabs received land in Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank) and the Gaza Strip, they could fulfill their desire for a state. In return, the Jews would achieve their dream—undisputed sovereignty in the Land of Israel…or at least a large part of it.
Tragically, as history has proven, the Palestinians never intended the Oslo Accords as a path to peace by which they could establish their own state alongside Israel. Rather, they intended these accords as a step to realizing their ultimate goal—destruction of the Jewish state.
Present-day Israel was founded to restore Jewish sovereignty over the biblical Land of Israel—without ruling over millions of Palestinian Arabs. In fact, after capturing Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula in the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel immediately expressed its willingness to trade land for peace.
Unfortunately, Israel’s overtures were quickly rejected by the Arabs, who responded with the so-called three nos: No peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel and no recognition of Israel.
Nevertheless, Israel has generally assumed that eventually, it would cede land in Judea and Samaria for peace—just not all of it. Thus, Israelis established the vast majority of their settlements in areas vital to the country’s security interests while largely avoiding areas heavily populated by Palestinians.
Remember: The Palestinian Arabs have never owned any public land anywhere. They have no inherent legal rights to any parts of the land of Israel—which the Jewish state legally controls from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
However, the Oslo Accords gave Israel the opportunity to relinquish control over millions of Palestinians. It gave full or partial control of areas most heavily populated by Palestinians to a new entity—the Palestinian Authority. Thus, Palestinians have day-to-day governance over 90% of their population. Israel kept control of areas where its communities are located and where Jews constitute a majority.
In 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made the bold decision to withdraw all Israeli troops and civilians from the Gaza Strip because, in his words, “It is in Israel’s interest not to govern the Palestinians, but for the Palestinians to govern themselves in their own state.”
Tragically, Sharon believed that the Palestinians actually wanted a state of their own.
In fact, the Palestinians only saw the Oslo Accords as a step toward the complete destruction of Israel. As evidence shows, Oslo was part of the Palestinians’ “Phased Strategy” to conquer Israel piece by piece.
This strategy was adopted by the PLO back in 1974 and stipulated that the Palestinians would accept any territory Israel relinquished, using it as a springboard for more territorial gains until the “complete liberation of Palestine.”
Indeed, PLO leader Yasser Arafat, in a message broadcast on the very day the first Oslo Accord was signed, said, “This is the moment of return, the moment of gaining a foothold on the first liberated Palestinian land…Long live Palestine, liberated and Arab.”
According to Palestinian journalist and editor Abd al-Bari Atwan, who met Arafat while the PLO leader was still in exile in Tunisia, Arafat told him, “I am entering Palestine through the door of Oslo…in order to return the PLO and the resistance to it, and I promise you that you will see the Jews fleeing from Palestine like mice fleeing from a sinking ship.”
For the next seven years, Arafat continued to tell Western media about his “peace of the brave” with his “partner, Yitzhak Rabin.” But to the Palestinians, he always presented the Oslo Accords as a temporary agreement, constantly referencing his “Phased Strategy.”
The Palestinian Arabs replied to Israel’s concessions, not with peace, but with terror and murder. Since the Oslo Accords were signed, the number of civilians killed or injured has been tenfold compared to the entire period from 1948 to the signing of the Accords. More than 2,000 Israelis have been killed since the Accords were signed.
Nevertheless, Israel continued with the Oslo peace process in good faith, offering the Palestinians statehood on three separate occasions. Offers in 2000, 2001 and 2008 successively increased in generosity. These offers included a capital in Jerusalem, some 95% of Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip, plus some territory in pre-1967 Israel.
Nevertheless, the Palestinians rejected all these proposals—because they never intended to live side by side with Israel, but rather sought to destroy it.
Perhaps the best proof of the Palestinian’s bad faith has been their continued insistence on the “right of return,” by which millions of descendants of Palestinian “refugees” would return to their ancestors’ former homeland.
Historically, refugees’ descendants have no “right of return,” and of course this one would negate Israel’s Jewish majority, thereby destroying the Jewish state. The Palestinians have always used this as their excuse not to sign a peace agreement, knowing that such a condition would lead to Israel’s own demise.
Thirty years after the first of the Oslo Accords was signed, the Palestinians continue to reject the existence of a Jewish state. Palestinian society is still taught that the Jews are the invading enemy, who must be banished from all of “Palestine.” Palestinians are encouraged to kill Jews at every opportunity. In fact, they’re even paid for it—the PA’s pay-for-slay program provides generous monthly salaries to terrorists who murder Jews.
The Oslo Accords were doomed to fail. While Israel saw them as an opportunity to make peace and end its control over millions of Palestinians—by giving them a state of their own—the Palestinians saw them simply as a stepping stone to the complete annihilation of the Jewish state.
If the Biden administration wants a two-state solution, it should first persuade the Palestinians to accept the Jewish state.
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