"Israel's Oslo diplomacy reflected a self-destructiveness inexplicable except in psychiatric terms" - Prof. Kenneth Levin
Israel - Arabs Landmarks
Oslo I / Oslo II 1993 / 1995
Camp David / Taba Summits 2000
Road Map various
Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties
1949 Armistice Agreements
Camp David Accords (1978)
Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty (1979)
Madrid Conference of 1991
Oslo Accords (1993)
Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace (1994)
Camp David 2000 Summit
The "Oslo Accords" (the "DOP") represented an historic agreement to negotiate successive interim measures, described as a "peace process", with the aim of reaching a "final status agreement" for a permanent end to the conflict. As part of the interim regime the DOP provided that in Gaza and Jericho there would be a "withdrawal" of military forces, but that elsewhere in the Territories there would be a "redeployment" in stages out of "populated areas".
The Government of the State of Israel and the P.L.O. team in the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to the Middle East Peace Conference (the "Palestinian Delegation"), representing the Palestinian people, agree that it is time to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, recognize their mutual legitimate and political rights, and strive to live in peaceful coexistence and mutual dignity and security and achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process. Accordingly, the, two sides agree to the following principles:
AIM OF THE NEGOTIATIONS
The aim of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the current Middle East peace process is, among other things, to establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, the elected Council (the "Council"), for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, for a transitional period not exceeding five years, leading to a permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.
A summary of the Oslo Accords
The English translation of the Declaration of Principles consists of some seventeen typewritten pages of Articles, Protocols, Minutes and Annexes. It is, in effect, a detailed program for the establishment of a Palestinian Interim Self-Governing Authority in the West Bank and Gaza, as an interim measure for a term of up to five years, as originally contemplated by the Camp David Accords in 1978.
13 October 1993: - Authority over Gaza and the "Jericho area" to be transferred from Israel to the "authorised Palestinians for this task".
December 1993 - January 1994: - Israeli military forces to be withdrawn from Gaza and Jericho. A Palestinian police force "recruited locally and from abroad" to assume responsibility for internal security and public order. A temporary international or foreign presence in Gaza and Jericho "as agreed upon".
October 1993 - July 1994: - Israeli forces in West Bank (and Gaza?) to be re-deployed outside populated areas as Palestinian police assume responsibility.
13 July 1994: - The self-governing Council for the whole of the West Bank and Gaza is to elected. The election will be under agreed international supervision with order ensured by the Palestinian police. Jerusalem residents may vote outside Jerusalem.
Also information from http://www.jmcc.org/fastfactspag.aspx?tname=92
The Oslo accords were the first direct agreements between Israel and the PLO and were constructed as a framework for future relations between the two sides, to culminate after five years in a final status agreement.
The final text of the Accords was completed in Oslo, Norway on August 20, 1993, and officially signed at a public ceremony in Washington D.C. on September 13, 1993 in the presence of PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and US President Bill Clinton, with Mahmoud Abbas signing for the Palestine Liberation Organization, foreign Minister Shimon Peres for the State of Israel, Secretary of State Warren Christopher for the United States and foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev for Russia.
The accords provided for the creation of a Palestinian Authority, which was to administer areas of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The accords also called for the withdrawal of the Israeli army from parts of the occupied Palestinian territories.
Permanent-status negotiations were to commence as soon as possible, but not later than the beginning of the third year of the interim period. The transitional period began on May 4, 1994 and was to conclude on May 4, 1999. Permanent issues such as Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlements, security and borders were deliberately left to be decided at a later stage.
Although permanent-status negotiations did take place, including those at Camp David in July 2000, no permanent settlement was reached.
Interim self-government was to be granted by Israel in phases. Until a final status accord was established, the West Bank and Gaza would be divided into three zones:
Area A - under complete control of the Palestinian Authority.
Area B - under Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control.
Area C - under complete Israeli control. These areas were Israeli settlements and "security zones."
See also - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oslo_I_Accord
Has this formula worked before?
By Husam Madhoun for www.miftah.org
The first mention of a Palestinian security structure was in the Oslo Accords, signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the State of Israel in September 1993. Article VIII of the Declaration of Principles (Oslo Accords) states that "In order to guarantee public order and internal security for the Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the (joint Palestinian-Israeli) Council will establish a strong police force, while Israel will continue to carry the responsibility for defending against external threats, as well as the responsibility for overall security of Israelis for the purpose of safeguarding their internal security and public order
According to the subsequent Cairo Agreement of 1994, the Palestinian "strong police force" would be comprised of 9,000 lightly armed personnel. With the ratification of the Oslo II Interim Agreement, both parties agreed to a 30,000 manned Palestinian security structure.
However, according to a report released in 2003 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the number of Palestinian security personnel on the official Palestinian National Authority (PNA) payroll stood at 56,128.
The origins of the Palestinian Security Services (PPS) can be traced back to the early days of the PLO in 1964. Some members of today's PSS grew out of the military wing of the PLO and armed groups that served as Yasser Arafat's bodyguards during his years in exile (Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia); these various military wings were later unified and became known as the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA). The PLA, which included a small air-force and navy, were trained by sympathetic Arab militaries (Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Egypt) in the early 60's and 70's.
The 1993 Oslo Accords and subsequent pacts, including the 1994 Gaza-Jericho Agreement, known as the Cairo Agreement, officially established the General Security Services (GSS), the umbrella organization encompassing the various units. According to the Cairo Agreement, the PNA would establish a temporary "strong police force" that would exist for five years, by which time a permanent settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would be agreed upon by both parties.
The number of members in the police force was set at 9,000, of which 7,000 would be recruited from the PLA and the remaining 2,000 from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. All recruitments required Israeli authorization. The PNA police force was allowed a maximum of 7,000 personal firearms, 120 medium and heavy machine guns and 45 armoured vehicles. (3)
The article provides details of The Palestinian Security Services according to the Palestinian Basic Law
"The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Palestinian Forces."
Security Forces and the Police are a regular force. It is the armed force in the country, its function is to defend the country, serve people, protect the community and maintain public order, security and morals. Under late President Yasser Arafat, the PSS was split into 12 loosely coordinated divisions, which were solely under his command. This was to become one of the main factors leading to an employee-inflated PSS, which later proved to be a heavy financial burden. Many believed President Arafat used these security services as a means of keeping a considerable portion of the Palestinian people "content," by providing jobs for underprivileged Palestinians.
Following Mahmoud Abbas' election as President of the PNA in 2005, one of the first reform measures pursued was the restructuring of the PSS.
National Security Forces (NSF): This is the closest entity the PNA has to an army. Its duties include patrolling the borders of areas under Palestinian control "Area A," guarding checkpoints, providing manpower for joint patrols with Israeli security forces and dealing with both crimes and national security.
Coast Guard: Based in Gaza, the only seacoast under PNA control, the Coast Guard has about 1,000 officers and whose purpose is to prevent arms and drug smuggling to and from Egypt. Its entire fleet consists of five motorboats equipped with machine guns.
Air Guard or Aerial Police: This is a small group that operates the PNA's five helicopters, which transport dignitaries between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Civil Police: Also known as the Blue Police for its uniform color, this lightly armed force of about 10,000 officers conducts day-to-day policing.
Civil Defense: This group includes emergency rescue and fire department services.
County Guard or Governorate Security: A small force that provides security for county governors and their offices and helps resolve local disputes.
Preventive Security Force (PSF): The PNA's largest intelligence service, it has 5,000 plain-clothed members in separate units in the West Bank and Gaza. The PSF is responsible for countering military action and monitoring opposition groups.
Presidential Security: What was Yasser Arafat's former personal-security force comprised of a highly trained group of some 3,000 officers, now guards Mahmoud Abbas.
General Intelligence: Also known as the Mukhabarat, this is the official PNA intelligence agency, equivalent to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Its 3,000 officers gather intelligence from both inside and outside the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It also performs counterespionage and is the Palestinian liaison with other countries' intelligence agencies. Many Mukhabarat agents work undercover in civilian plainclothes.
Military Intelligence: A smaller intelligence agency known as the Istikhbarat, this group deals mostly with the arrest and interrogation of opposition activists considered to be a threat to the PNA. The Istikhbarat also investigates illegal actions by other intelligence and security agencies.
Military Police: A division of the military intelligence, this body specializes in riot control, arrests, guarding VIPs, prison maintenance and keeping order among the security organs.
The National Security Council oversees all of the PNA's security services. On September 11, 2003, President Arafat announced the formation of a 14-member Council that would supervise all the security organs.
One of the most pressing issues facing ordinary Palestinians, especially in the wake of Israel's Unilateral Disengagement Plan from the Gaza Strip, has been, and still is, the lack of the rule of law and the overall sense of insecurity within PNA-controlled areas.
According to several reports issued by various international and local organizations, and in light of the security situation in the PNA controlled areas, the performance of the PSS has been recurrently deemed poor. Several factors have led to this poor performance, most notably, Israel's systematic targeting and destruction of Palestinian security facilities, the lack of a widely accepted national security strategy, the poor coordination between the Israeli Military and the PSS, as well as poor training facilities and security equipment.
Nonetheless, during the Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip, the PSS enabled a relatively smooth transition of power. Furthermore, during the Palestinian parliamentary elections, the PNA deployed up to 13,500 Palestinian security forces to ensure the safety of voters and Central Elections Committee (CEC) staff in addition to securing polling stations.
The number of weapons in the hands of the PA is a cause for concern. Before the PA was established, terrorists in Judea, Gaza, and Samaria had highly limited means of inflicting violence on the citizens of Israel. Terrorist attacks were characterized by knifings, the use of old grenades, and pistol attacks - not Kalashnikov rifles and certainly not rockets fired at Israeli cities.
Since Israel first provided great quantities of weapons to the PA under the Oslo Accords, many additional agreements have been concluded stating that Israel would transfer weapons to the PA or permit the transfer of weapons to the PA by a third party. Although the transfer of these weapons facilitated the murder of Israelis by terrorists starting in the 1990's and especially during the 2000's, such agreements have continued to be forthcoming, and overly so.
The ISA, by its own admission, does not have information about the weapons that Israel permitted to be transferred to the PA.
The central paragraphs of the agreements between Israel and the PA addressed these weapons, their transfer, keeping tabs of their location, and the purposes for which they were to be used. However, in response to a letter sent by the Almagor Terror Victims Association in June 2006, the ISA admitted that "the agency does not have the requested information." This embarrassing lack of coordination permits the PA and its workers to transfer weapons anywhere without the knowledge of Israeli security bodies, thus posing a threat to Israeli population centres.
During a June 2006 lawsuit to prevent the transfer of weapons to the PA, Almagor illustrated that transferring weapons to the PA led time and again to terrorist attacks by PA employees and to the "leakage" of weapons to terrorist organizations. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court chose to view the matter as "political" and not to intervene.
Before Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords in 1993, Arafat had been occupied with creating a Palestinian people, and had set up his headquarters for a nationalist, secular organization in Tunisia. Israel gave Arafat permission to rule the so-called Palestinian territory. He moved to the West Bank, but then decided to set up his regional headquarters in Gaza City.
His corruption and fraud knew no bounds. He became President and Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority. He also appointed himself as Chairman of the Palestinian financial organization which the World Bank had set up, channelling all funds through his office.
According to "60 Minutes," Arafat diverted nearly $1 billion in public funds to insure his political survival, but a lot more is unaccounted for. All told, U.S. officials estimate Arafat's personal nest egg at between $1 billion and $3 billion. And that does not include what he handed out to his cronies. During his rule, the economy of Gaza fell by one third according to Wikipedia.
But Israel began to work to build up the economy of the Palestinians. After the Oslo agreements, Israel employed 25,000 Gazans, most of whom entered Israel for their work. But when Arafat launched the Second Intifada in 2000, whereby Arab terrorists killed 1,083 Israelis, almost all civilians, Israel closed off the Gaza Strip, bombed its Yassir Arafat airport and blockaded its entrance from the sea because Hamas and the PLO were amassing weapons from abroad.
During that terrible period, Israel targeted Hamas terrorists and PLO terrorists, built a security fence around Gaza and closed off the crossings to commerce into Gaza.
When Arafat died in 2004, stability was an unknown entity. Funds were lacking to pay government and security workers and unemployment was high. Israel finally decided that maybe the only way to help the situation was for Israel to completely move its 9,000 citizens and its military out of the Gaza Strip which it did in 2005. American Jews, wanting to help the Palestinians jump-start their economy, contributed $14,000,000 to buy the Israelis' renowned high-tech greenhouses that they were leaving behind. It was a gesture to the Palestinian people, wishing them the best.
Gaza could have been a Garden of Eden with its beautiful beaches and its balmy climate. But the day Israel's military left, hordes of Gazans rushed into the farms, looted and destroyed the greenhouses, destroying their hopes for jobs or any type of economic revival.
Maoz Feb 2013
The failure of the Oslo agreements can be ascribed to the same reasons that are usually the cause of most agreement failures: both parties felt that Oslo had not delivered what they had expected from it.
Oslo was from the start meant to be an interim agreement as a prelude to the expected difficult negotiations toward a final agreement. An important component of it was that peace could be spread by goodwill on the part of the leaderships of both peoples.
Palestinian expectations were in the main twofold. The first expectation was that the Oslo process would bring to a halt the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israeli withdrawals were to proceed according to a fixed schedule leading to Palestinian Authority control over more than 90 percent of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, setting the stage for final Israeli withdrawal all the way to the 1967 borders.
The second expectation centred around increased economic development in Palestinian society, lifting Palestinians out of crushing poverty and narrowing the gap in living standards between them and the Israelis that many Palestinians thought humiliating and enraging.
Israeli expectations mostly centred on security. Decades of Palestinian terrorism had led many Israelis to fear that relinquishing control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip would leave Israel exposed to hostile Palestinian movements who would use the territories as springboards from which to launch terrorist acts well within Israel.
In summary, the Oslo agreement set up an expected quid pro quo that could be stated as "land and economics in exchange for security." The unravelling of the Oslo process began with the sense that the quid pro quo was not being implemented as planned.
The Oslo agreements were to assuage these fears ( by establishing a Palestinian Authority that would consider organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad as a threat to its own existence, thus aligning Israeli interests in fighting terrorism with the interests of the Palestinian leadership.
As terrorist attacks against Israelis exacted a heavy toll in civilians killed and wounded, the entire conception that had been presented to Israelis--of the Oslo process creating efficient Palestinian security teams that would be better than Israeli soldiers in combating terrorism--collapsed. Palestinian explanations that they "couldn't be expected to be collaborators and fight against their own people" rang hollow to Israeli ears in the face of civilian deaths.
Many incidents caused the Israeli public to wonder whether Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had ever truly intended to lay down arms and seek negotiated peace agreements rather than armed struggle: immense arms supplies to the Palestinian Authority were made public; captured documents indicated Palestinian Authority support for terrorist infrastructures; and Palestinian policemen took up arms against Israeli soldiers. For Israelis, this was the ultimate breach of agreement, rendering it moot.
The economic reconstruction of the Palestinian territories was to be handled by internationally respected Palestinian economists and businesspeople working along with the World Bank and enjoying the financial support of Western donations. Toward this end, as early as November and December 1993, potential donor nations were gathered to commit large sums of money and an organization that was supposed to oversee the new Palestinian Authority economy--the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR)--was formed.
The success of the Oslo process was predicated on a beneficial spiral of confidence-building measures that would bring Israelis and Palestinians ever closer to trusting in the possibility of peaceful co-existence. In actual fact, Oslo led to a series of claims and counter-claims of breaches of the accords that formed a negative spiral of mistrust and feelings of enmity.
In light of these facts, it might be said in hindsight that Oslo ultimately failed because while its fashioners set in motion a process that could potentially lead to trust and confidence, they did not establish mechanisms for monitoring violations or ensuring that claims of violations could be arbitrated and corrections could be guaranteed. Without such safeguards, the dynamic of the Oslo process fell prey to long-standing sentiments of mistrust and anger between Palestinians and Israelis.
These plans were halted by Yasser Arafat. Arafat regarded an independent and authoritative organization such as PECDAR as a potential threat to his power. The entire World Bank vision for a modern, Western-style Palestinian economy, built around competitive markets, transparent and accountable public bodies, and solid financial and legal institutions, went against the grain of the methods Arafat had used to run the PLO for decades. Those methods, instead of the World Bank and PECDAR paradigm, were imposed in the Palestinian Authority.
Ziv Hellman is a Jerusalem-based writer and mathematician. A former editor at the Jerusalem Post, Ziv was a founding member of Peace Watch--the watchdog group reporting on the implementation of the Oslo Agreements. He also led the Israeli elections observer team evaluating the Palestinian Authority elections.
The following list delineates 10 of the most egregious PLO violations of the Oslo Accords. The list is neither comprehensive nor exhaustive; rather, its focus is on infractions Israel deems most serious.
1. Failure to Change the PLO Covenant The PLO was obligated to amend the clauses in the Palestinian National Covenant which called for the destruction of Israel no later than 7 May 1996 (Article XXXII (9)). On 24 April 1996, the PLO's Palestinian National Covenant (PNC) met and approved such an amendment in principle, yet "the vote did not actually change the Covenant, but gave authority to a PNC legal committee to do so or to draw up a completely new charter within six months." (Jerusalem Post, 25 April 1996) Six months have passed, and no such changes have been made, nor has the PLO specified which particular articles will be changed or when the changes will go into effect. By leaving the Covenant intact, the PLO sends a clear message that it has not renounced violence nor accepted Israel's right to exist.
2. Incitement to Violence Against Israel The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership is obligated to refrain from incitement to violence, as part of their commitment to foster mutual understanding and to combat terrorism
(Article XXII). Nonetheless, PA Chairman Yasser Arafat has repeatedly called for jihad (holy war) against Israel, praised prominent terrorists such as Yihya Ayyash "the Engineer" and encouraged acts of violence against Israelis. On 21 October 1996, Arafat met with a delegation of Hebron Arab notables and, in response to their complaints about the presence of Jewish settlers in the city, he rebuked them, saying, "What? Have you run out of stones in Hebron?" (Voice of Israel, 22 October 1996) Previously, on 6 October 1996, Arafat called Israel a "demon" and urged Arabs to use "all means" at their disposal to fight Israel. (New York Times, 7 August 1996) Speaking before Palestinian forces in Gaza on 24 September 1996, Arafat said, "They will fight for Allah, and they will kill and be killed... Palestine is our land and Jerusalem is our capital."
(Ma'ariv, 4 October 1996) Incitement by Arafat and other senior PA officials encourages violence and undermines attempts to foster peace and mutual understanding.
3. Opening Fire on Israeli Forces In September 1996, Palestinian policemen opened fire on Israeli soldiers and civilians during the disturbances in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, resulting in the deaths of 15 Israelis. The PA leadership actively instigated the rioting and took no steps to halt the armed attacks by PA police against Israeli forces. This was the most grievous violation of the Oslo Accords to date by the Palestinians. As Joel Singer, legal advisor to Prime Ministers Rabin and Peres and one of the chief architects of the Oslo Accords, put it, "The Palestinian policemen committed a very, very serious violation of the one of the basic principles in the agreement with Israel. Nothing can justify such behavior." (Near East Report, 21 October 1996) The Accords require that the Palestinian police act to prevent violence and cooperate with Israeli security forces (see, for example, Annex I, Article II). The conceptual foundation of the Oslo Accords is the rejection of violence and force as tools in the conduct of bilateral relations. By initiating violence against Israelis, the PA has violated a cornerstone of the agreement.
4. Failure to Confiscate Illegal Arms and Disarm and Disband Militias The PA is obligated to disarm and disband all militias operating in the autonomous areas and to confiscate all unlicensed weapons (Article XIV; and Annex I, Articles II(1) and XI). Nevertheless, five militias Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, the DFLP and Fatah continue to remain armed, and the PA has refused to disarm them. The PA has failed to undertake a systematic crackdown on illegal weapons, and has confiscated just a few hundred of the tens of thousands of weapons circulating in the autonomous areas. The PA's violation of these provisions of the accord have allowed terror groups to remain active and well-armed and to carry out deadly attacks against Israelis.
5. Failure to Extradite Suspected Terrorists to Israel The PA is required to turn over for trial all suspects whose extradition is requested by Israel (Annex IV, Article II (7)), yet they have not extradited any of the 19 terror suspects whom Israel has sought for crimes such as murder and attempted murder. By failing to turn over wanted suspects to Israel, the PA has allowed terrorists to go unpunished, thereby encouraging others to carry out attacks in the knowledge that they will not have to answer for their actions.
6. Opening PA Offices in Jerusalem The PA is required to locate all offices and ministries exclusively in areas under its jurisdiction
(Article I (7)). Nevertheless, the PA has violated this provision by maintaining governmental offices such as the Orient House in Jerusalem. The PA Ministry of Religious Affairs and the PA Office of the Mufti are both located in Jerusalem, and several other PA offices operate in other sections of the city. In addition, Palestinian policemen operate in Jerusalem in contravention of the agreements. They have been involved in activities such as kidnapping, torturing and killing human-rights activists, journalists and suspected collaborators with Israel and punishing perpetrators of "morals crimes."
7. Recruiting Terrorists to Serve in the Palestinian Police The PA is required to submit a list of all potential police recruits to Israel for approval (Annex I, Article IV (4)) to forestall the possibility that members of terrorist groups will join the PA security services. The PA has consistently failed to provide comprehensive listings of potential recruits to Israel and has proceeded to recruit policemen without Israeli consent. In several instances, the PA has even drafted wanted terrorists to serve in its security forces. Abd al-Majid Doudin, who helped plan the suicide bombing in Jerusalem on 21 August 1995, was convicted and sentenced by a PA court to 12 years imprisonment, but was subsequently freed and hired by the Palestinian police in Jericho. Similarly, Rajah and Amr Abu-Sita, who murdered Uri Megidish on 8 March 1993, and whose extradition was requested by Israel, were drafted to serve in the PA police in Gaza. (Yediot Ahronot, 22 June 1994) Such steps by the PA endanger the prospects for cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces and pose a security threat by providing terrorists with access to weapons and intelligence information.
8. Exceeding the Limit on the Number of Palestinian Police* Under the Gaza-Jericho accord of May 1994, the PA was permitted to deploy a total of 9,000 policemen (Annex I, Article III (3)), but in actuality the number of Palestinian policemen was nearly 20,000. Under Oslo-II, the PA may deploy up to 24,000 policemen in Areas A and B, including Gaza, (Annex I, Article IV (3)), yet they have exceeded this figure by at least 10,000. Reports in late September 1996 suggest that the PA security forces may exceed 50,000 men.
9. Abuse of Human Rights and the Rule of Law The PA is obligated to conduct its affairs "with due regard to internationally-accepted norms and principles of human rights and the rule of law" (Article XIX). As various international human rights groups, such as Amnesty and Middle East Watch have pointed-out, the PA security forces have systematically utilized arbitrary arrests, detention and torture. Human rights activists, such as Bassam Eid, have been abducted by PA security agents, and freedom of the press has been virtually eliminated, with no criticism of the regime tolerated in the Palestinian media.
10. Conduct of Foreign Relations The agreements explicitly forbid the PA from conducting foreign relations, allowing instead the PLO to conduct relations on the PA's behalf for a limited set of purposes, such as concluding economic and cultural agreements (Article IX). Nevertheless, the PA has violated this provision and engaged repeatedly in diplomacy on the bilateral, multilateral (i.e. Arab League) and international (i.e. United Nations) levels.
"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." - Article XXXI, Section 7 of the Oslo Accords
"The Oslo Accords between the PLO and Israel will cease to exist the day after the UN votes in favor of upgrading the status of a Palestinian state to non-member" - Abbas Zaki, member of the Fatah Central Committee.
"Oslo Accords will cease to exist after UN bid" - Fatah:, reported in Jerusalem Post, November 8, 2012"
A Palestinian diplomatic gambit that Palestinian officials described as marking the end to the peace process, which saw the Palestinians secure a UN General Assembly vote to upgrade their status to that of a non-member state. The campaign constituted a material breach of the Oslo Accords, under which the Israelis traded functionally irreversible territorial concessions in exchange for Palestinian commitments not to "take any step that will change the status of the West Bank" outside of bilateral negotiations. Israel announced two decisions in the aftermath of the UN vote.
First, Jerusalem withheld a little more than $100 million in tax revenue that Israel has collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, and will transfer the funds to Israeli energy companies to pay down debts owed by the Palestinian Authority.
Second, the Israeli government advanced plans to build homes in the so-called E1 corridor that connects Jerusalem to the city of Ma'aleh Adumim, which is a little over four miles outside of Jerusalem in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and where almost 40,000 Israelis live. The announcement does not ensure that construction will actually begin. - CFI
People under siege end up blaming themselves for their enemies' hatred toward them, delude themselves about the malicious intentions of their foes.
There were many cogent critiques of the Oslo process. But none addressed why Israel's leaders, supported by the nation's academic and cultural elites and much of the broader population, were pursuing a course that was demonstrably placing the nation, including their own families, at dire risk... given the irrationality of Israel's course, the explanation had to lie in the realm of psychopathology. Israel's Oslo diplomacy reflected a self-destructiveness inexplicable except in psychiatric terms - Prof. Kenneth Levin of the department of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.
Psychosis: Fundamental derangement of the mind characterized by defective or lost contact with reality especially as evidenced by delusions - Merriam-Webster Online dictionary.
Fanatic, frenetic, frantic
As the evidence against the feasibility of any two-state outcome to the conflict with the Palestinian Arabs continually accumulates, the rhetoric of evermore desperate two-staters is becoming increasingly fanatic, their behavior increasingly frenetic and their policy proposals increasingly frantic.
Forced to concede that virtually all the assumptions upon which the land-for-peace approach, and its derivative two-state paradigm, were founded, have been demonstrated to be totally without foundation, two-staters refuse to acknowledge error.
Rather than relinquish the conclusions they had drawn on the basis of disproven premises, they cling to them as if they were some divinely ordained dictate, preferring to find alternative arguments to justify them - even if these happen be to diametrically contradictory to those previously invoked.
Perverse, pernicious prescriptions
The recent perverse procession of pernicious prescriptions began with the presentation of the bizarre notion of " constructive unilateralism" (a.k.a. "the independent option") at the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.
Since I have critiqued the idea of "constructive unilateralism" recently, I will limit myself to reminding readers that this is an approach that advocates a policy of " preemptive surrender," prescribing not only that Israel acquiesce a priori to virtually all Palestinian demands for statehood, in return for absolutely nothing, but shoulder the burden of financing much of their implementation.
Despite its misleading rhetorical wrappings, it is - much like the 2005 disengagement - clearly an initiative whose immediate focus is far more on ensuring the dismantling of settlements rather than attaining - and sustaining - a durable peace.
Dershowitz's feckless formula
Next in line came Prof. Alan Dershowitz's feckless formula for two states.
Dershowitz seems to suggest we should go about solving the issues in dispute by... well, solving them; or at least by declaring the major issues solved, and negotiating - in "good faith" of course - those that remain "reasonably in dispute."
Thus he proclaims with cavalier abandon that "the first issue on the table should be the rough borders of a Palestinian state," apparently unaware that this has been the heart of the dispute for almost a quarter century - if not considerably longer depending on your historical point of departure.
He then goes on to declare blithely: "Setting those [borders] would require recognizing that the West Bank can be realistically divided into three effective areas:
Those relatively certain to remain part of Israel, such as Ma'aleh Adumim... and other areas close to the center of Jerusalem.
Those relatively certain to become part of a Palestinian state, such as the heavily populated Arab areas beyond Israel's security barrier.
Those reasonably in dispute, including some of the large settlement blocs such as Ariel.
Just how "realistic" this division is, can be gauged by the recent uproar over the prospect of Israel developing the E1 region which lies considerably closer to the center of Jerusalem than the rest of Ma'aleh Adumim, which Dershowitz deems "relatively certain to remain part of Israel," and in fact comprises the territorial link between them.
Puerile, prejudicial and paradoxical
Putting aside the thorny question as to which Palestinian leader would agree that communities such as "Ma'aleh Adumim and other areas close to the center of Jerusalem" are "to remain part of Israel," and that Ariel is "reasonably in dispute" - indeed, would even survive making such a publicly binding commitment - there are many reasons why Dershowitz's proposal should be dismissed as puerile, prejudicial and paradoxical.
This relates to his attitude to the "disputed" areas. He says the "freeze [on Israeli construction] would continue in disputed areas until it was decided which will remain part of Israel and [which will be] part of the new Palestinian state."
However, he then proceeds to prejudge the outcome of the "reasonable dispute," by refraining from placing a similar freeze on the Palestinians. To eliminate any doubt about how he really sees the fate of the these "disputed" areas, Dershowitz declares: "An absolute building freeze would be a painful but necessary compromise. It might also encourage residents in the West Bank to move to areas that will remain part of Israel, especially if the freeze were accompanied by financial inducements to relocate."
Clearly, if the Palestinians are permitted to build in these areas where the Jews are not only barred from doing so, but "induced" to leave, deeming them "disputed" is little more than a disingenuous ruse. For if Palestinian development is allowed, while Jewish development is not, the obvious intention is for them to be eventually transferred to the Palestinians.
Age of intellectual absurdity
Then, Intelligence Squared staged its first debate in Israel, featuring two zealous two-staters, Peter Beinart and Michael Melchior, former MK and currently chief rabbi of Norway.
I cannot resist inserting here a caustic comment made by Prof. Barry Rubin in an article titled "Betrayal Glorified: The Bizarre Jewish Movement to Destroy Israel by Pretending to Save It."
In it he dismisses Beinart, and the positions he espouses, with a withering barb: "We live in an age of intellectual absurdity in which someone who has no notion of Israeli reality and who is, at best, decades... out of date is treated as if he could possibly be of some relevance."
As for Melchior, in a September 2012 interview, headlined "Islam is ready for peace with Israel," he condemned Israeli rejectionism - or at least reluctance - for obstructing peace between Judaism and Islam, including the more radical extremist elements, thus, as one popular website observed, "placing the onus for lack of peace with extremist Islamic movements on Israel."
One can only wonder whether the good rabbi realizes that by expounding such wildly unfounded indictments of the Jewish state, he is merely providing more grist for the mill of the Judeo-phobic elements that harass his ever-diminishing Nordic congregation.
Preserving democracy by promoting tyranny?
Both Beinart and Melchior espoused the well-worn theme that if Israel does not facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state, it will "impair not only its democratic character but ultimately its Jewish character" (Beinart) and "empty the real content of what it means to be a true Jewish state" (Melchior).
We are thus asked to believe that the only way to preserve Jewish democracy is to facilitate Muslim tyranny.
After all, the Israeli withdrawals - whether negotiated or unilateral have made Sinai a lawless jihadi no-man's land; resulted in Gaza becoming a Hamas-dominated theocracy; and allowed the ascent of Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Even dedicated two-staters, such as Dershowitz, concede it is not "out of the question that someday Hamas might gain control over the Palestinian government, either by means of a coup, or an election, or some such combination of both. Israel cannot be asked to accept a fully militarized Hamas state on its vulnerable borders."
The only way the putative Palestinian state will not become a haven for Arab terror organizations is for the Palestinians to behave in a manner entirely different - indeed, diametrically opposed - to the manner in which they have behaved for seven decades - arguably even longer.
But two-staters have yet to produce persuasive arguments - rather than fervent hopes - as to why this is at all likely. Until they do, they should not be surprised that many relate to their proposal - at best - as a wildly irresponsible gamble.
Or is it that two-staters believe that being nice is more important - and more Jewish - than being?
The Oslo Syndrome: Explaining the inexplicable?
How then can we account for this proclivity for self-destructive irrationality? Prof. Kenneth Levin of the department of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, has ventured an intellectually audacious explanation that should not be hastily discounted.
Apart from his MD degree Levin, who has hugely impressive and diverse academic credentials, including degrees in mathematics (University of Pennsylvania) an MA in English literature (Oxford), a PhD in history (Princeton), was at a loss to explain Israel's behavior in rational terms.
Accordingly, in his book The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege, he turned to the psycho-pathological.
In it, he drew on his experience with children, chronically abused by their parents, who typically blame themselves for their fate, since this sustains a fantasy that if they reform, if they become "good," their parents will treat them differently. To look at their situation more realistically would force them to acknowledge their inability to change their circumstances.
Adults, as well as children, prefer to fend off acknowledging such bitter realities and to preserve the illusion of control - even when no such possibility exists.
Likewise, people under chronic siege tend to deny the severity of the threat, to blame themselves or others within their community, for the danger or their enemies' hatred toward them, and to delude themselves about the malicious intentions of their foes. Placing the onus on themselves, rather than on their adversaries, creates the hope that there is something they can do to end the enmity against them.
The distasteful alternative
Levin has come up with an original and, in many ways, compelling, thesis that is becoming ever-more relevant.
As he notes, "Israel has, at best, a capacity to respond effectively to attacks by its neighbors; it does not have the capacity to end the Arab siege, to force peace upon the Arabs."
Indeed, it is becoming increasingly evident that Arab/Muslim hostility towards the Jewish state is not a result of what it does but of what it is - Jewish. It can thus only be placated by the Jewish state ceasing to be Jewish.
Accordingly, the Oslo Syndrome theory is one that deserves - indeed requires - urgent and widespread debate. Its validity needs to be carefully, but expeditiously, explored, for the only alternative is highly distasteful.
It is to assume that two-staters prefer to imperil the country, rather than admit the error of their politics, that they are willing to forgo the nation's security rather than their personal and professional standing.
Surely the Oslo Accords established the expectation of a Palestinian State but the conditions in that accord have been conveniently forgotten.
If Oslo is dead, then the peace process is dead! So why is the USA pushing for a resumption of the Peace Process?
Surely the pursuit of peace should be started from a pre-Oslo status.
These expectations remain even though the Oslo Accords must be acknowledged to be dead!
Israel is in a much worse position than it would have been if Oslo had never happened.
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The Wye River Memorandum was an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to implement the earlier Interim Agreement of September 28, 1995. Brokered by the United States at the Aspen Institute Wye River Conference Centers near Wye River, Maryland, it was signed on October 23, 1998.
Clinton opened the summit at the secluded Wye River Conference Center on October 15 and returned at least six times to the site to press Netanyahu and Arafat to finalize the deal. In the final push to get Netanyahu and Arafat to overcome remaining obstacles, Clinton invited King Hussein who had played a past role in easing tensions between the two men, to join the talks.
On the final day of the negotiations, the agreement almost fell through. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had asked President Bill Clinton to release Jonathan Pollard, an American naval intelligence officer who has been serving a life sentence since 1985 for giving classified information to Israel. A bitter disagreement arose, with Netanyahu claiming that Clinton had promised to release Pollard, and Clinton saying he had only promised to "review" the case. It was also reported that then director of the CIA George Tenet had threatened to resign if Pollard was released.
The agreement was finally signed by Netanyahu and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat at the White House, with President Clinton playing a key role as the official witness.
On November 17, 1998, Israel's 120 member parliament, the Knesset, approved the Wye River Memorandum by a vote of 75–19.
Both sides only implemented the first phase of the Memorandum.
Israel withdrew from all territory it was required to transfer to the Palestinian Authority within the timetable. Israel did not see reciprocal steps being taken by the Palestinian Authority.
Thus, Israel believed that the Palestinian Authority's promises to implement its share of responsibilities under the Wye River Memorandum were not serious, and the agreement's understandings and goals were un-implemented.
In the provisions on security arrangements of the Interim Agreement, the Palestinian side agreed to take all measures necessary in order to prevent acts of terrorism, crime and hostilities directed against the Israeli side, against individuals falling under the Israeli side's authority and against their property, just as the Israeli side agreed to take all measures necessary in order to prevent acts of terrorism, crime and hostilities directed against the Palestinian side, against individuals falling under the Palestinian side's authority and against their property. The two sides also agreed to take legal measures against offenders within their jurisdiction and to prevent incitement against each other by any organizations, groups or individuals within their jurisdiction.
1: Outlawing and combating terrorist organizations
(a) The Palestinian side was to make known its policy of zero tolerance for terror and violence against both sides.
(b) A work plan developed by the Palestinian side would be shared with the U.S. and thereafter implementation would begin immediately to ensure the systematic and effective combat of terrorist organizations and their infrastructure.
(c) In addition to the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation, a U.S.-Palestinian committee would meet biweekly to review the steps being taken to eliminate terrorists calls and the support structure that plans, finances, supplies and abets terror.
(ci) (d) The Palestinian side would apprehend the specific individuals suspected of perpetrating acts of violence and terror for the purpose of further investigation, and prosecution and punishment of all persons involved in acts of violence and terror. (e) A U.S.-Palestinian committee would meet to review and evaluate information pertinent to the decisions on prosecution, punishment or other legal measures which affect the status of individuals suspected of abetting or perpetrating acts of violence and terror.
2: Prohibiting illegal weapons
(a) The Palestinian side would ensure an effective legal framework is in place to criminalize, in conformity with the prior agreements, any importation, manufacturing or unlicensed sale, acquisition or possession of firearms, ammunition or weapons in areas under Palestinian jurisdiction.
(b) In addition, the Palestinian side would establish and vigorously and continuously implement a systematic program for the collection and appropriate handling of all such illegal items it accordance with the prior agreements. The U.S. agreed to assist in carrying out the program.
(c) A U.S.-Palestinian-Israeli committee would be established to assist and enhance cooperation in preventing the smuggling or other unauthorized introduction of weapons or explosive materials into areas under Palestinian jurisdiction.
3: Prevention of incitement
(a) The Palestinian side would issue a decree prohibiting all forms of incitement to violence or terror, and establishing mechanisms for acting systematically against all expressions or threats of violence or terror. This decree would be comparable to the existing Israeli legislation which deals with the same subject.
(b) A U.S.-Palestinian-Israeli committee would meet on a regular basis to monitor cases of possible incitement to violence or terror and to make recommendations and reports on how to prevent such incitement. The Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. sides would each appoint a media specialist, a law enforcement representative, an educational specialist and a current or former elected official to the committee.
B: Security cooperation
The two sides agreed that their security cooperation would be based on a spirit of partnership and would include, among other things, the following steps:
1: Bilateral cooperation
There would be full bilateral security cooperation between the two sides which would be continuous, intensive and comprehensive.
2: Forensic cooperation
There would be an exchange of forensic expertise, training, and other assistance.
3: Trilateral committee
In addition to the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation, a high-ranking U.S.-Palestinian-Israeli committee would meet as required and not less than biweekly to assess current threats to deal with any impediments to effective security cooperation and coordination and address the steps being taken to combat terror and terrorist organizations.
C: Other issues
1: Palestinian police force
(a) The Palestinian side would provide a list of its policemen to the Israeli side in conformity with the prior agreements.
(b) Should the Palestinian side request technical assistance, the U.S. indicated its willingness to help meet those needs in cooperation with other donors.
(c) The Monitoring and Steering Committee would, as part of its functions, monitor the implementation of this provision and brief the U.S.
2: PLO charter
The Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Central Council should reaffirm the letter of January 22, 1998 from PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat to President Clinton concerning the nullification of the Palestinian National Charter provisions that were inconsistent with the letters exchanged between the PLO and the Government of Israel on September 9–10, 1993.
3: Legal assistance in criminal matters
Among other forms of legal assistance in criminal matters, there were requests for the arrest and transfer of suspects and defendants. The United States had been requested by the sides to report on a regular basis on the steps being taken to respond to the above requests.
4: Human rights and the rule of law
Accepted norms of human rights and the rule of law, and would be guided by the need to protect the public, respect human dignity, and avoid harassment.
The Israeli and Palestinian sides reaffirmed their commitment to improve their relationship and agreed on the need to actively promote economic development in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Israeli and Palestinian sides agreed on arrangements which would permit the timely opening of the Gaza Industrial Estate.
Both sides should have renewed negotiations on Safe Passage immediately. Negotiations on the northern route would continue with the goal of reaching agreement as soon as possible.
The Israeli and Palestinian sides acknowledged the great importance of the Port of Gaza for the development of the Palestinian economy, and the expansion of Palestinian trade.
The two sides recognized that unresolved legal issues hurt the relationship between the two peoples.
The Israeli and Palestinian sides also should launch a strategic economic dialogue to enhance their economic relationship.
The two sides agreed on the importance of continued international donor assistance in helping both sides to implement agreements.
Permanent status negotiations
The two sides would immediately resume permanent status negotiations on an accelerated basis and will make a determined effort to achieve the mutual goal of reaching an agreement by May 4, 1999.
Recognizing the necessity to create a positive environment for the negotiations, neither side should have initiated, or take any step that would change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in accordance with the Interim Agreement.