The Middle East is not only a dangerous place these days; it is also a very confusing one. It is very difficult to discern fact from fiction, and even more difficult to get to the root of the problem. And as Westerners, we have a preconceived notion, as Henry Kissinger once said that, "all complex problems have simple solutions." What we have more difficulty digesting, however, is the second half of Kissinger's statement, that "those simple solutions are almost always wrong."
Given this complex situation, and given that the media often blurs the distinctions with its use of moral equivalency, this article will explain the Oslo peace process from its inception until today, laying clear what is really going on and what caused its violent collapse.
What will become painfully clear is that contrary to conventional wisdom that asserts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about the "occupied" West Bank, the consistent actions and statements of the Palestinian leadership and people, even since the Oslo peace accords, reveal a more fundamental objective: the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel in the heart of the Arab Islamic Middle East.
PEACE REQUIRES TWO PARTIES WHO WANT PEACE
The first principle of peace making is that it takes two sides to tango; both sides must truly want peace. If one side says "Yes," and the other says "No" and instead chooses violence, then peace cannot be achieved. This may seem a simple platitude, but this idea lies at the core of today's Middle East.
Let's begin where the architects of Oslo began, with the problem of Israel and the Palestinians fighting over a small piece of real estate. Putting aside any questions of whose claim to the land has more merit, the peacemakers first clarified what both sides want. In short:
- Peace (and is willing to give land for peace)
- Security -- no terror
- The Palestinians to formally declare an end to the conflict
- Not to occupy another people
- Recognized and defensible international borders. (The pre-1967 borders were considered by both the Israeli and U.S. militaries as being indefensible, giving rise to Abba Eban's term the "Auschwitz borders.")
Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines -- all of Gaza and the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital
- All refugees (and their descendents) of 1948 and 1967 wars to be allowed to return inside Israel (estimated 2-4 million people)
- No Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza -- i.e. the transfer of 200,000 Jews
- No Jewish "settlements" in Jerusalem -- i.e. the removal of the large Jewish neighborhoods of Gilo, Neve Yaakov, Ramat Eshkol and others
- A sovereign and completely independent, militarized Palestinian state
- The PLO to be recognized as the official representative of the Palestinians with Yasser Arafat as its head
Here is an easy view of the issues and gaps that separated the sides when the Oslo negotiators sat down:
|Issue||Israel (democratic majority)||Palestinian (PLO)|
|Land - West Bank||retain approx. 40 percent||gain 100 percent|
|Jerusalem||retain||gain as its capital|
|Settlements||retain most||Uproot all|
|Jerusalem new areas||retain||Uproot all|
|'48 Refugees||None return to Israel||All return to Israel|
|'67 Refugees||None return to Israel||All return to Israel|
Most of us looking at this chart would perhaps think that the differences were too great to bridge. But at secret peace talks in Norway, 1993, the interlocutors were, remarkably, able to come to an agreement!
The Oslo principle was simple -- agree to disagree by avoiding all the tough issues, and get the peace ball rolling anyway. Israel would start giving land and autonomy, and both sides would recognize each other. The Palestinians would guarantee Israel's security and an end to terror. The process would last five years, during which trust would be built, to the point where the tough issues could be dealt with and a final settlement determined.
Israel figured that, in total, the Palestinians would build their demilitarized state on 60-80 percent (depending on if the right or left wing was talking) of the West Bank and all of Gaza, while the Palestinians intended to get a militarized state in 100 percent of both.
WHAT BOTH SIDES COMMITTED TO AT OSLO
- Recognize the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians, now to be renamed the Palestinian Authority (PA).
- Transfer land: Gaza and Jericho first, then approximately three additional transfers of unspecified amounts (to be determined in interim deals in the next few years).
- Allow a PA police force of 10,000, providing that the names are first submitted to Israel for clearance, in order to avoid known terrorists being employed on the PA force.
- Give the PA small weapons (rifles) to help them enforce the law and destroy all terror organizations.
- Educate the Israeli public for peace with the Palestinians.
- Grant the Palestinians a state at the end of the 5 years (unstated but understood).
The PLO (PA) will:
- Recognize Israel's right to exist.
- Cease being a terror organization and using terror to gain politically -- i.e. all future problems with Israel will be solved by negotiations and not through violence.
- Dismantle all other terror organizations, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and confiscate all illegal weapons.
- Amend the PLO Covenant that calls for the destruction of Israel through violence.
- End incitement to violence, and educate the Palestinian population for peace with Israel.
WHY WAS OSLO RISKY FOR ISRAEL?
The Oslo deal was designed to bridge the wide gaps by building trust amongst the leaders and peoples, in order to give them time to re-educate their populations for painful future concessions, necessary from both sides to make a final deal.
If Oslo worked, it would be great for everyone. But if it failed, Israel would be in a precarious situation, much worse off militarily and otherwise. If the PLO did not really change, and instead continued using terror and refusing to compromise on the difficult issues, the consequences for Israel would be:
Problem #1 -- A terror state is created.
- The Palestinian police force could swell in numbers illegally, and use their weapons against Israel.
- The PA could smuggle in large quantities of illegal and heavy weapons -- through the Gaza airport and seaport, and through tunnels on the Gaza-Egyptian border.
- Terror organizations could build weapons factories and train forces to act against Israel.
- PA territory would provide a convenient launching pad for terror acts, and a safe refuge for terrorists to escape after completing their terror.
- Israel would lose its intelligence infrastructure in the territories that helped prevent terror since 1967.
- Israel would become reliant on the PA for security, in contradistinction to a primary purpose of Israel's creation -- to no longer be dependent on others for security.
Problem #2 -- the Oslo deal would be irrevocable. Once land and autonomy would be given, the Palestinians, Arab and Western worlds would not tolerate Israel retaking the areas (under any circumstances), and Israel would thereby be forced to live with this indefensible situation.
Given the great risks, Israeli negotiators took pains to convince the Israeli public that the whole arrangement was a test; a trial that, if it fails (i.e. problem #1 comes true), would simply be revoked and Israel would end up at no worse a situation than before 1993 (i.e. problem #2 would not be a problem and Israel could just retake the land).
Yossi Beilin, a key Oslo rainmaker, addressed Israelis shortly after the deal was made (Ma'ariv -- 26 November 1993):
If you ask me if I am at ease, I will tell you "no." What is 100 percent certainty? You think I don't have many question marks? I don't sleep easily at night and the ultimate test of this agreement will be a test of blood.
The test will be in the months and in the first two years after the implementation of the autonomy in Gaza and Jericho and the establishment of Palestine police. In this period the arguments will be silenced...
If it emerges that they cannot overcome terror -- then this is a temporary accord and with all the difficulty entailed, we will have no choice but to withdraw from it. If we see that the level of violence does not decrease we will not be able to proceed further and definitely we will not progress to implement the permanent agreement. And if there is no choice, the IDF will return to the places which it is about to leave in the upcoming months.
With these assurances in place, the deal was signed with great fanfare on the White House lawn in September 1993, the three signatories, Arafat, Peres and Rabin received Nobel Peace Prizes, and the five years of trust-building began.
EVALUATING THE 5 YEARS OF TRUST-BUILDING
How did Israel do?
Land Transfer: Over the 5 years, Israel transferred 42 percent of the land to the PA, putting 98 percent of the Palestinians under the PA's political jurisdiction. Israel no longer controls their schools, collects taxes from them, handles trash pickup, paves their roads, or builds their government offices. All administrative matters are under complete Palestinian control. (That Palestinians continue to live in squalid camps is the full responsibility of the Palestinian Authority under which they live.)
Israelis were educated for peace and were warmed to the inevitability of a Palestinian state next door (polls show a majority now in favor).
How did the Palestinians do?
The following chart shows the number of Israelis killed in terror attacks in each of the 30 years since 1967, when Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza. Notice how the four worst years were those immediately following the signing of the Oslo Accords.
Let's look at some of the commitments, one by one:
End of Terror:
During the 5-year period after Oslo, 279 Israeli men, women and children were killed in 92 lethal attacks carried out by Palestinian terrorists. This is 50 percent more than the number of Israelis killed in the six years of the Intifada (1987-93), and surpasses the number of those killed during the entire 15 years preceding the signing of the agreements.
A number of signed agreements stipulate the establishment of a police force that will be solely responsible for the enforcement of law and order within the Palestinian Authority. The rise of the Tanzim and al-Aqsa Brigades as unofficial security forces were forbidden by these agreements.
Theses groups possess firearms and act as armed militias with the encouragement and support of senior PA figures. In both the Wye Agreement and earlier agreements, the Palestinians promised to confiscate all illegal weapons. The fact that the Tanzim have so many weapons is a blatant violation of these agreements. Moreover, the PA itself has in its possession quantities and types of weapons exceeding those permitted by the agreements.
Though terrorists always worked to kill Jews, this situation was worse than the first intifada and all previous periods -- because now the terrorists had guns as well as land from which to launch attacks and escape to after.
Release of Terrorists:
In all the agreements, the most important Israeli demand was that the PA take responsibility to combat terrorism. Without this commitment, there would be no continuation of the agreements.
Contrary to all of these commitments, the Palestinian Authority, instead of extraditing terrorists to Israel as obligated, released the most notorious terrorists, and in so doing gave a "green light" to terror.
The New York Times (August 22, 1997) revealed that "Rather than arrest the militants named on lists provided by Israel, the Palestinian Authority appears in some cases to have provided them with bodyguards to protect them from a possible Israeli snatch."
The Times also reported on September 10, 1997, that the PLO had arrested 200 Hamas members shortly before the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Albright, but then immediately released all but "50 to 100" of them. Those held were only "doctors and pharmacists," rather than hard-core terrorists, according to The Times.
BBC News (November 30, 2001) revealed that a 50-page report by The New York-based Human Rights Watch claims that the Palestinians are operating what it calls "a revolving door policy" of arresting and releasing suspected militants.
Many of these protected and released terrorists have subsequently committed major terror attacks against Israel, including suicide bombings.
In all the agreements, the Palestinians committed to prevent incitement to violence against Israel.
However, the Palestinian Authority used all its official channels, including the education system and official media (PA-run TV, radio and PA-run or intimidated newspapers) to disseminate material inciting Palestinians to kill Jews, to damage Jewish holy sites, and to carry out acts of terror. Given the lack of free press in the PA, this translates into nine years in which all information reaching the Palestinian population was rife with incitement.
In the Cairo Agreement of 1994, Israel and the PA agreed to "ensure that their educational systems contribute to the peace between Israel and the Palestinian people."
The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to encourage the development and fostering of peaceful relations between peoples and nations, conducted a comprehensive survey of 58 new Palestinian textbooks (academic years 2000-01 and 2001-02) in order to determine how they relate to peace, tolerance, recognition and reconciliation according to criteria set by the international community.
The startling results (detailed at http://www.edume.org/reports/index.htm) reveal that:
- The concept of peace with Israel is not to be found anywhere in the Palestinian schoolbooks.
- The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, based on the Oslo Accords, is not mentioned.
- The textbooks fail to teach the youth to see Israel as a neighbor with whom peaceful relations should be desired. One example from the encyclopedia "Our Country Palestine" (page 13) states succinctly, "There is no alternative to destroying Israel."
- The State of Israel, a member state of the UN since 1949, is not recognized. It is referred to by substitute names such as the lands within the "green line," "interior," or "1948 lands." The name "Israel" does not appear on any map.
- By contrast, the State of Palestine (which does not yet exist) is often referred to and its name appears with the official emblem of the Palestinian Authority, on the cover and the front page of many textbooks. Palestine stretches from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea (i.e. all of Israel) and is exclusively Arab. The 5.5 million Jewish inhabitants are not counted amongst the population.
- Jerusalem is presented as belonging to the Palestinians alone, and as the capital of Palestine. Its central importance and holiness for Jews is not mentioned, neither is the fact that the Jewish population constitutes the vast majority of its inhabitants.
- The struggle for the liberation of Palestine is presented mainly as a military one. The Feda'i (guerilla) and the Shaheed (suicide martyr) are praised as the spearheads of this struggle. For example, this incitement to martyrdom in "Our Arabic Language for Fifth Grade": "The Jihad (holy war) against the Jew is the religious duty of every Muslim man and woman."
They must be butchered and killed, as Allah the Almighty said: "Fight them: Allah will torture them at your hands..." Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them.
The Palestinian Media Watch (http://www.pmw.org.il) monitoring organization revealed that on April 14, 2002, the PA reached a new level of manipulation in encouraging their people to seek death in shahada, martyrdom for Allah, by adding religious guilt to those who are not yet martyrs. In Friday's sermon on Palestinian TV, religious leader Muhammad Ibrahim Maadi indicates that those who are not yet martyred may be lacking in their practice of Islam:
Whoever has not merited martyrdom in these times, should rise in the night and say: "My Lord! Why have you denied me martyrdom?"
This constant indoctrination has created a violent culture of hate where suicide bombers are now the most honored of all citizens, where mothers encourage their children to kill themselves in order to blow up more Jews, and the murderer's family and society celebrate publicly when Jews (and Americans on 9/11) are butchered.
Attacks on Holy Sites:
The security of a number of holy sites is mentioned in the Interim Agreements as being the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority, and that Jewish worshipers will be allowed unhindered access to them.
Not only have the Palestinians not permitted Jewish worshipers to visit the sites, but they have allowed mobs (assisted by Palestinian police) to destroy Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, the ancient "Peace for Israel" synagogue in Jericho, and to fire consistently at Rachel's tomb. These violations demonstrate that the Palestinians cannot be trusted to protect holy sites.
According to agreements, the Palestinian police is supposed to uphold law and order within the Palestinian Authority. Instead, Palestinian police disappeared from the flashpoints, and allowed extremists to set the tone.
In many instances, Palestinian police joined in firing on Israeli civilians and soldiers. The lynching in Ramallah began when Palestinian police illegally took two Israelis to Ramallah for interrogation, and then allowed the lynching to occur while under Palestinian police auspices.
Additionally, Arafat has placed many wanted terrorists as officers on his security forces.
The signed agreements limited the number of Palestinian police to 10,000. After violations, Israel agreed to increase the force to 20,000. According to Palestinian sources, there are currently at least 60,000 armed and paid Palestinians security officers operating in the West Bank and Gaza.
Writes Palestinian activist Edward W. Said:
...Economically the condition of most Palestinians (especially in Gaza) has deteriorated steadily since Oslo. One of the main reasons for so terrible an economic deterioration is the sheer cost of Arafat's rule through his police force, plus seven, eight or nine security apparatuses... At one policeman per 50 people (in Gaza), this is the highest police per capita ratio in the world. Arafat spends so much on police he has nothing left to spend on housing, education, health, and welfare. (Al-Ahram Weekly - Cairo, 18 January 1996)
THE DEATH OF OSLO?
One might have thought that with these results of consistent, serious violations of the foundation principles of Oslo (summarized at http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0i1s0), the leaders of Israel and the world would have recognized Oslo as an experiment that failed.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that Oslo was presented initially as a clear test, Oslo's failure did not cause its collapse.
Instead, Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Barak offered a deal that went far beyond what any Israeli had previously imagined to offer.
At Camp David in July 2000, Barak offered:
To create a Palestinian State in 91-97 percent of the territories. The remaining percentage would be compensated with land in the Negev connected to the Gaza Strip.
To give the Palestinians political and military control over East Jerusalem, and recognize it as the capital of the Palestinian State. This included parts of the Old City, and administrative control of the Temple Mount, which overlooks the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site. This despite the occasional rocks thrown by Muslims from the Temple Mount while Jews are praying at the Wall.
To allow many Palestinian refugees to return to Israel through family reunification, as well as arranging compensation for those refugees not returning.
Arafat rejected the offer out of hand.
President Clinton said clearly who squandered the chance for Mideast peace.
Nearly a year after he failed to achieve a deal at Camp David, former president Bill Clinton gave vent to his frustrations this week over the collapse of peace in the Mideast. And Clinton directed his ire at one man: Yasir Arafat... Arafat called to bid him farewell three days before he left office. "You are a great man," Arafat said. "The hell I am," Clinton said he responded. "I'm a colossal failure, and you made me one." (Newsweek, June 27, 2001)
Instead of a counter-offer, Arafat launched a well-planned and premeditated military assault on Israel that has been continuing for 18 months without any sign of let-up, despite at least two agreed-upon "cease-fires."
As reported in Newsday (April 4, 2001), Palestinian Minister of Communications Imad el-Falouji testified:
But, in remarks reported by the Associated Press, Falouji said it was a mistake to think that [Sharon's visit to the Mount] was the cause for the uprising. Instead, he said, it was planned after the failure of last summer's failed peace summit at Camp David, MD, which was brokered by then President Bill Clinton... He said the uprising 'had been planned since Chairmen Arafat's return from Camp David, when he... rejected' American pressure for Palestinian concessions as part of a peace deal.
Here are the grim results of Arafat's war (Sept. 29, 2000 - April 11, 2002)
|Killed:||308 civilians||150 security forces||458 total|
|Injured:||2,624 civilians||1,125 security forces||3,749 total|
Terror attacks (not counting innumerable firebomb and rock attacks):
5,785 in West Bank 5,671 in Gaza Strip 542 inside Green Line 11,998 total
A graph summary can be found at http://www.idf.il/daily_statistics/english/graph6.stm
For 18 months, Israel restrained itself by only responding to being attacked (an average of 22 times a day) -- shooting at empty PA buildings as warning, and defending itself by attacking those terrorists who were actively involved in perpetrating violence (as opposed to waiting for them to blow up Israeli civilians at a cafe or Bar Mitzvah).
But after 18 months of the terror campaign in which hundreds of Israelis were killed and thousands injured -- capped by a month that saw 128 Israelis murdered, and by a week of seven "successful" suicide bombs (many more attempts were thwarted) including one at a festive Passover Seder that killed 28 and injured over 100 -- Israel finally had no choice in March 2002 but to go in and rout the terror at its source.
The reason Israel found itself in the position of having to kill these terrorists is because Arafat was not fulfilling the most basic and fundamental agreement of Oslo: to be responsible to stop terror. Indeed, beyond not fulfilling his responsibility, Arafat has been actively encouraging and employing terror, activating not only his own Fatah and Tanzim militias, but coordinating the campaign of terror with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups -- including alliances with "axis of evil" states Iraq and Iran.
The Sunday Telegraph (UK) reported that Arafat aides met in March 2002 with Iraqi intelligence officials and provided them with a list of strategic targets inside Israel. (Recall that Arafat was the only world leader who supported Saddam Hussein during the 1991 Gulf War.)
Following the interception of the Karine-A ship, laden with 50 tons of illegal advanced weaponry including Katyusha rockets, rifles, mortar shells, mines and a variety of anti-tank missiles bought and paid for by the PA, President Bush demanded that Arafat provide a full accounting of the incident. Additionally, huge sums of counterfeit US dollars and shekels were uncovered at Arafat's office in Ramallah.
Incriminating documents were confiscated from Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah during IDF operations. One document, dated January 7, 2002 and signed by Arafat, allocates money for 12 Fatah-Tanzim terrorists operating in the Tulkarm area. Another document, dated September 19, 2001 and signed by Arafat, allocates money for the Fatah-Tanzim terrorist cell that carried out the massacre at the bat mitzvah party in Hadera in January 2002.
The original Arabic documents can be viewed online at: http://www.idf.il/arafat/terrorism2/english/main_index.stm.
The Jerusalem Post reports: (April 12, 2002)
To the documented proof of Arafat's direct command over the Fatah-Tanzim terrorist infrastructure must be added his collusion with Islamic Jihad and Hamas. At the outset of the Palestinian terrorist war, Arafat's underling Barghouti formed the "Unified Command of the Intifada," which coordinates attacks with Islamic Jihad and Hamas. The fact the PA itself is part and parcel of the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure was further brought home when the IDF discovered weapons-making workshops inside the Palestinian Security Service's compound in Yatta.
Arafat's signed notes distinguish him as the direct commander of major terrorist operatives who have planned and coordinated attacks against scores of Israelis. He decides who will get paid and how much.
WHY DID ARAFAT REJECT BARAK'S OFFER?
Throughout the last century, Palestinian Arabs have continually said "No" to peace with Israel:
- 1937 Peel Commission. After the Ottoman Turkish Empire lost control of the lands of "Palestine" and it became part of the British Mandate, a British commission was formed to decide how to divide up the land between Jews and Arabs (there was never a Palestinian State in any of the land). The Jews said yes, the Arabs no.
- 1947 United Nations Partition Plan. A UN-appointed commission proposed another sharing of the land, and received the same responses.
- 1948 Israeli War of Independence. When England declared an end to its mandate, Israel offered its hand in peace. The response? An invasion by 5 Arab armies to destroy the nascent Israel. After the war, Israel again offered peace and a dividing of the land.
- 1956 Sinai Campaign. Israel offered peace after the second Israel-Arab war.
- 1967 Six Day War. After capturing territory in another Arab war of annihilation, Israel offered the return of land for peace, which was again rejected.
- 1973 Yom Kippur War. After coming close to being destroyed, Israel still offered land for peace, only to be rejected again.
Eventually, Egypt's Anwar Sadat signed a peace agreement in 1979, and Jordan's King Hussein signed in 1994.
Remember, the PLO was formed in 1964 -- years before the West Bank and Gaza were in Israeli hands! And the PLO Covenant to this day still states its clear goal of destroying Israel through terrorism, to completely liberate all of "Palestine" from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
What do Palestinians really want?
The Arab conflict is not about the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. It is about the very existence of the State of Israel. In the 1974 "Phased Plan," the Palestine National Council decided to accept any piece of land within Greater Palestine as Phase One, from which to carry on Phase Two -- the war for the extinction of Israel.
Faisal Husseini, the PLO representative in Jerusalem and a PA cabinet minister prior to his death in 2001, explained in an interview (Egyptian daily "Al-Arabi," 24 June 2001):
If we agree to declare our state over what is now only 22 percent of Palestine, meaning the West Bank and Gaza -- our ultimate goal is [still] the liberation of all historical Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, even if this means that the conflict will last for another thousand years or for many generations.
It now seems clear that Arafat signed the Oslo Accords as "phase one," and following his own script has now launched "phase two."
After five years of steering the Oslo process, continually pressing Israel for greater concessions, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk concluded with a frank admission:
I don't believe that Arafat ever really gave up violence as a tool to achieving his objectives. (Jerusalem Post, July 6, 2001)
A SECOND LOOK
Let's take another look at Palestinian demands:
- Palestinians want:
- The 1967 lines -- all of Gaza and the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital
- All refugees of 1948 and 1967, and their descendents, settling within Israel
- No Jewish settlements in West Bank and Gaza
- No Jewish "settlements" in Jerusalem
- A militarized Palestinian state
In refusing to compromise, the Palestinians have revealed that the essence of their demands is the elimination of the Jewish State: By allowing millions of refugees to flood the Jewish state, Palestinians will become the majority of citizens in a democratic country. Once that happens, Israel no longer exists. That is the Palestinian "demographic solution" to the Jewish problem.
That Arafat and the Palestinians truly want all of Israel is made clearer by the fact that all official PA maps used in the government, media and school systems cover the geographic entirety of the land from the Jordan to the Sea, make no mention of Israel, and list proper Israeli cities as "Palestinian."
Arafat has raised an entire generation schooled in hatred and amidst constant calls for Jihad. Not surprisingly, this has had a tremendous impact on the Palestinian street.
In September 2001, Palestinian pollsters showed that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians refuse to accept any form of Israel, even if Israel were to acquiesce and give in to all of the Palestinian demands.
Do you accept giving up the "1948 lands" in return for a final solution in which the Palestinian will have their own state in the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital (i.e. the 1967 borders)?
16.4% - Yes
72.7% - No
10.9% - Don't know
Source: JMCC (Jerusalem Media and Communications Center) Public Opinion Poll of Palestinian Attitudes. A random sample of 1,198 people over the age of 18 was interviewed face-to-face throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip between September 11-17, 2001. Margin of error is 3 percent.
At Oslo in 1993, most Israelis were ready to give peace a chance by assuming, even without hard evidence to support them, that the PLO leopard had changed its spots. After Camp David's rejection and the launching of Arafat's War of 2000-02, it has been made clear that the leopard is the same as it always was -- except now Israel is in a much weaker position -- demoralized by the chimera of a false peace and terrorized by a nearby population that is now well-armed and organized.
Israel is left with but one choice: To reverse the mistakes of Oslo, Israel must wait for a different Palestinian leadership, one that is genuinely committed to peace and stopping terror. And to wait for another generation that is not brainwashed with hate.
Indeed, such a solution was built into Oslo from the beginning. In the words of the Oslo signatory and Nobel Peace Laureate Yitzhak Rabin:
Stop being afraid. There is no danger that these guns will be used against us. The purpose of this ammunition for the Palestinian police is to be used in their vigilant fight against the Hamas. They won't dream of using it against us, since they know very well that if they use these guns against us once, at that moment the Oslo Accord will be annulled and the IDF will return to all the places that have been given to them. The Oslo Accord, despite what the opposition claims, is not irrevocable.
In the meantime, Israel will have to fight for its survival -- fighting both against Arafat's terror state, and against a cynical world that fails to see the truth.
May there be peace in our land soon.
This is the basis of a new Aish HaTorah seminar. If you are interested in bringing it to your city, contact firstname.lastname@example.org