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January 5, 2015 5:59 pm

Palestinian Breach Means Oslo Accords No Longer Valid, Israeli Think-Tank Declares

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Palestinian actions mean Israel is no longer bound by the Oslo Accords, according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Photo: Wikimedia

A leading Israeli think-tank has concluded that “Israel has the legitimate right to declare that the Oslo Accords are no longer valid and to act unilaterally in order to protect its essential legal and security interests.”

Signed in September 1993 between the late Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and the late PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, the Oslo Accords – which earned both men a Nobel Peace Prize – committed Israel and the Palestinians to a land for peace deal and an end to terrorist attacks. The Accords stipulated that a final agreement would be negotiated after an interim five-year period; by 1998, however, the Palestinians were shifting away from negotiations, and by 2000, had wrecked the peace process by launching a second intifada.

More than a decade later, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has published “Ten Points Regarding the Fundamental Breach by the Palestinians of the Oslo Accords,” by Ambassador Alan Baker, a former deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Baker described the accords as a “contractual framework of obligations between Israel and the Palestinians, signed as witnesses and guarantors by the King of Jordan, the Presidents of the U.S. and Egypt, the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation and Norway, the EU and endorsed by the UN.” But now that the Palestinian Authority is aggressively pursuing a unilateralist strategy, Baker said, by “petitioning the UN, the International Criminal Court and international organizations to recognize them and accept them as a full member state, and by their unification with the Hamas terror organization, the Palestinians have knowingly and deliberately bypassed their contractual obligations pursuant to the Oslo Accords in an attempt to prejudge the main negotiating issues outside the negotiation.”

Baker argued that, as the “injured party,” Israel “is freed from any further obligations pursuant to the agreement or contract.”

Wrote Baker: “The fundamental breach of the Oslo Accords by the Palestinians is indicative of their conscious decision to undermine them and prevent any possibility of their implementation. As such they have rendered the Accords void…Israel has the legitimate right to declare that the Oslo Accords are no longer valid.”

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  • History proves the Arab countries terrorized and expelled over a million Jewish families and their children. In so doing the Arab countries confiscated all Jewish assets, businesses, homes and real estate totaling over 120,000 sq. km. or 75,000 sq. miles, (which is 6 times the size of Israel), and valued in the trillions of dollars. The reason they were expelled, hatred and greed. Those expelled Jewish families were resettled in Israel and account for over half the population of Israel today.
    Those in power in the Arab-Palestinian leadership have rejected again and again any and all attempts to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Although sometimes occupied, there has been a Jewish Nation in the land of Israel for the past 4000 years. In fact, the Jews are the ONLY surviving indigenous people to Israel. Yet, even though history proves there has never been an Arab-Palestinian Nation, the Arab Muslims falsely claim they have a right to Israel. Said false claim exposes the true mission of the Arab Muslims: extermination of Israel and the genocide of Jews.
    An examination of what Arab Muslims teach their children further exposes their true mission. They continue to teach their children to hate, enslave, terrorize and kill Jews, and all non-believers by any means possible. Ironically, the world idly sits by allowing such hatred and violence to exist and expand thinking it is only an Israeli problem (Déjà vu Hitler and Nazism).
    The Muslim mission in the world is not only Israel but the rest of the world, and all “infidel non-believers”. Though there are constant instances of terroristic acts throughout the world which support the above statement, we need not consider any other than September 11, 2001. On 9/11 Arab Muslim terrorists killed close to 3,000 innocent people, including children in America. It is time for the world to accept the fact the Arab Muslim mission of worldwide genocide of ALL non-Muslims, and even some Muslims, will continue until education and humanity replaces such hatred, or eliminates it altogether.
    History proves Arab Muslims have killed over 500 million people since its inception 1500 years ago. Moreover, the number of deaths by Arab Muslims continues to grow every day. They have colonized the Middle East over the years. Now they are slowly but surely taking over Europe. Rest assured if we are not careful to protect ourselves, they will attempt to take over the United States and all other countries. Then we the non-believers and our children will be forced to kneel before a sword wielding Arab Muslim, having committed no other crime than having a different religious belief.
    It is time for the world to wake up and face stark reality: wherever there are Arab Muslims there is hatred fueled conflict and terrorism in an ongoing mission of genocide.

  • The League of Nations adopting San Remo terms and the Mandate for Palestine aka Greater Israel
    The ultimate Mandate for Palestine, aka Greater Israel, approved by the Council of the League of Nations on 24 July 1922 explicitly refers back to the decisions of the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers of 25 April 1920. The Mandate begins: “Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have agreed…” The League Council adopted the 1920 San Remo Treaty verbatim, the Palestine Mandate became binding on all fifty-one members of the League. Since the United States officially endorsed the terms of the Mandate but had not joined the League of Nations, special negotiations between Great Britain and the United States with regard to the Palestine Mandate, aka Greater Israel, had been successfully concluded in May 1922 and approved by the Council of the League in July. The United States ultimately signed a bilateral treaty with Britain (on 3 December 1924), actually incorporating the text of the Mandate for Palestine and approved by the US Congress and Senate, thus completing its legal alignment with the terms of the Mandate under the League of Nations.
    This act of the League Council enabled the ultimate realization of “the long cherished dream of the restoration of the Jewish people to their historical ancestral ancient land” and validated “the existence of historical facts and events linking the Jewish people to Palestine, aka Greater Israel, as the only known indigenous people for over 3,000 years. For the members of the Supreme Council, these historical facts were considered to be accepted and “established”. In the words of Neville Barbour, “In 1922, international sanction was given to the Balfour Declaration by the adoption of the San Remo Resolution issued in the Palestine Mandate”.
    In actual fact, the Mandate went beyond the Balfour Declaration of 1917.
    The incorporation, in the Preamble of the Mandate, of the principle that Greater Israel, aka Palestine, should be reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish people represented a deliberate broadening of the policies contained in the Balfour Declaration, which did not explicitly include the concept of reconstitution. It is of some interest that, while the word “reconstitute” was absent from the Balfour Declaration, it was actually Lord Balfour himself who ensured the inclusion of this concept in the final, internationally legally binding Mandate. Thus it was not a new idea, “grafted on” at the last moment, but was well deliberated. The ultimate effect was that the rights of the Jewish people under the Mandate for Palestine were thereby greater than the rights contemplated in its source document, the 1917 Balfour Declaration. According to Abraham Baumkoller:
    “The choice of the term ‘reconstitute’ clearly indicates that in the eyes of the Council, it was not a question of creating something new, but of admitting the reconstitution of a situation that already existed ages ago. This idea coincides, if you will, with the notion of ‘historic ties’, even if these are not altogether identical.”
    In addition to the insertion of the “reconstituting” language, the phrase in the Mandate’s Article 2: “…will secure the establishment” (of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the Preamble of the Mandate for Palestine) is equally said to go beyond the Balfour Declaration which uses the considerably milder language: “…view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”, and “will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object”.
    Looking beyond the details, the important point is that the primary objective of the Mandate for Palestine is to provide and return the national home for the Jewish people to Jewish sovereignty—including the Jewish people dispersed worldwide—in their historical ancestral Land, had been fulfilled.
    The Arab people, who already exercised jurisdictional sovereignty in a large number of States, were guaranteed protection of their civil and religious rights under the Mandate as long as they wished to remain—even after the State of Israel was ultimately formed in 1948—including citizenship if they so chose. Moreover, for the Arab population, Trans-Jordan had meanwhile been illegally added as a territory under Arab sovereignty, carved out of Jewish Palestine itself, the very mandated territory at issue, prior to the actual signing of the Mandate in 1922 under the League of Nations.
    In sum, the Mandate for Palestine, aka Greater Israel, adopted and approved by the Council of the League of Nations in July 1922, was an international treaty and, as such, was legally binding. The International Court of Justice (I.C.J.) has since confirmed that the Mandate for Palestine instrument granting all the territory west of the Jordan River “in fact and in law, is an international agreement having the character and force of a treaty or convention”.
    The Mandate for Palestine aka Greater Israel as it Pertains to Jerusalem and the Old City
    The rights granted to the Jewish people in the 1920 San Remo Conference were confirmed by the 1920 Treaty of Sevres and Lausanne, and adopted and incorporated by the Mandate for Palestine relating to the establishment of the Jewish national home were to be given effect in all parts and regions of the Palestine territory. No exception was made for Jerusalem and its Old City, which were not singled out for special reference in either the Balfour Declaration, the 1920 San Remo Treaty or the Mandate for Palestine, other than to call for the preservation of existing rights in the Holy Places. As concerns the Holy Places, including those located in the Old City, specific obligations and responsibilities were imposed on the Mandatory.
    It follows that the legal rights of the claimants to sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem similarly derive from the decisions of the Principal Allied Powers in the 1920 San Remo conference, and from the terms of the Mandate for Palestine adopted and approved by the Council of the League of Nations. In evaluating the validity of the claims of Israel relating to the Old City, the Council decision is of great significance from the perspective of the rights and obligations that it created under international law which the UN cannot supersede or modify without the consent of the parties.
    The League of Nations and the UN can only recommend a resolution. In order for a resolution to be binding it must be agreed to and executed by the parties. Since the Arabs rejected outright the partition and most other resolutions, all those resolutions are void and have no standing whatsoever.
    In the view of Oxford international law professor Ian Brownlie, “in many instances the rights of parties to a dispute derive from legally significant acts, or a treaty concluded very long ago”. As a result of these “legally significant acts”, there are legal as well as historical ties between the State of Israel and the Old City of Jerusalem.
    The intellectual ties were further solidified by the official opening of the Hebrew University on 1 April 1925 in Jerusalem. This significant event was attended by many dignitaries, including the University’s founding father, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Field Marshall Allenby, Lord Balfour, Professor William Rappard and Sir Herbert Samuel, among many other distinguished guests. According to Dr. Weizmann, addressing the dignitaries and some twelve thousand other attendees at this memorable event, the opening of the University in Jerusalem was “the distinctive symbol, as it is destined to be the crowning glory, of the National Home of the Jewish people which we are seeking to rebuild”.
    Furthermore and of great importance, it must be noted the Faisal Weitzmann agreement of January 3, 1919 stated and agreed that the Jews would have Jerusalem and that the Muslim places of worship would be protected.
    In addition to the legal, historical and intellectual heritage, in the words of Canadian scholar Dr. Jacques Paul Gauthier: “To attempt to solve the Jerusalem/ Old City problem without taking into consideration the historical and religious facts is like trying to put together a ten thousand piece puzzle without the most strategic pieces of that puzzle”. In his monumental work entitled Sovereignty Over the Old City of Jerusalem: A Study of the Historical, Religious, Political and Legal Aspects of the Question of the Old City, Dr. Gauthier offers an exhaustive review of these historical/spiritual/political/legal bonds, emphasizing the “extraordinary meaning” of the Old City of Jerusalem and the temple to the Jewish people.
    Indeed, with respect to the question of the Old City, the historical facts and the res religiosae (or things involving religion) are rendered legally relevant by the decisions taken at the 1920 San Remo sessions of the Paris Peace Conference, together with the terms of the Mandate for Greater Israel, aka Palestine. Notwithstanding the fact that historical, religious or other non-legal considerations may not be considered relevant or sufficient to support a legal claim normally in international law cases, these aspects of the issue of the city of Jerusalem are relevant in evaluating the claims of Israel and the Arab-Palestinians relating to sovereignty over the Old City, just as much or perhaps even more than over the entire State of Israel and the Holy Land, as noted in the Introduction.

  • Jewish resettlement in the Land of Israel, including Gaza, Judea and Samaria, exist as of right and are completely in accordance with international law. In fact, it is the repeated attempts to prevent Jewish resettlement that is in violation of international law, as per the San Remo Agreement and its confirmation by the 1920 Treaty of Sevres. The Mandate for Palestine, set out by the League of Nations and later enshrined in the United Nations, set out the right for Jews to settle in the entire Land of Israel. The legally binding document was conferred on April 24, 1920 at the San Remo Conference, and its terms outlined in the Treaty of Sèvres on August 10, 1920. The Mandate’s terms were finalized and unanimously approved on July 24, 1922, by the Council of the League of Nations, which was comprised at that time of 51 countries,4 and became operational on September 29, 1923. The Mandate clearly distinguishes between political rights for Jews and civil and religious rights for non-Jews. Article 2 of the “Mandate for Palestine” explicitly states that the Mandatory should: “… be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.” At no time in the Mandate document are the Arabs referred as a people, or given the right for a country within the boundaries of Palestine set aside for a Jewish National Home. The Arabs were given 21 Arab States.

    The claim that Israel is some sort of Holocaust consolation prize to assuage the guilt of Europeans completely disappears when one considers that this document was internationally ratified 30 years before World War Two and explicitly states that Jewish settlement exists by right and not sufferance. The preamble to the text states: “Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” In other words, the soon to be established Jewish state derives its legitimacy from the fact that the two previous Jewish commonwealths existed in the Land of Israel, and that it is the birthplace of the Jewish people. Surrendering any inch of this land to a foreign power is a betrayal of the ancient Jewish ties to the land, and to terms set forth by the Mandator document.

    The document, valid until this very day according to international law, sets out that “The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.” The document does not take into account the existence of any “Palestinian Arab” people and does not distinguish in any way between central Israel, the Galilee, Negev, Judea, Samaria or Gaza. The policy of denying Jews the right to settle in Judea and Samaria simply by virtue of their being Jewish is a blatantly anti-semitic policy, one completely illegal. As Yehuda Z. Blum, Israeli ambassador to the UN, explained: “A corollary of the inalienable right of the Jewish people to its Land is the right to live in any part of Eretz Yisrael, including Judea and Samaria and the East bank of the Jordan river, which are an integral part of Eretz Yisrael. Jews are not foreigners anywhere in the Land of Israel. Anyone who asserts that it is illegal for a Jew to live in Judea and Samaria just because he is a Jew, is in fact advocating a concept that is disturbingly reminiscent of the ‘Judenrein’ policies of Nazi Germany banning Jews from certain spheres of life for no other reason than that they were Jews. The Jewish villages in Judea, Samaria, Golan Heights and the Gaza district are there as of right and are there to stay.”

    Zionism has become a very dirty word recently. Jews must stand up and say that Zionism, supporting the right to Jewish self-determination in the entire Land of Israel, and its practical applications such as resettlement and rebuilding, is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. Anyone who opposes Zionism is an anti-semite because he denies Jews the right of self-determination which is accorded to all other peoples. Whenever somebody ignorantly repeats the slander about “illegal settlements” or “outposts”, he must be reminded that international law demands that the trustee of the Mandate for Palestine, in the modern world, the State of Israel, encourage “close settlement by Jews on the land” and makes no mention of any other group with political rights in Israel. There is an illegal occupation in Palestine- but it is certainly not a Jewish one.

    Many nations and people are questioning Israel’s control of its liberated territory. No one is mentioning that the Arab countries had ejected about a million Jewish people and their children from their countries, confiscated their assets, businesses, homes and Real estate 650,00 Jewish people and their children of these expelled Jewish people were resettled in Greater Israel. The Land the Arab countries confiscated from the Jewish people 120,400 sq. km. or 75,000 sq. miles, which is over 5-6 times the size of Israel, and its value today is the trillions of dollars.

  • Jack

    Coming to the conclusion that the Oslo Accords would be adhered too was more than tad overly optimistic in hind sight, and except for the false belief that Palestine could act like a nation and receive nationhood was definitely well intentioned.
    The Palestinians, well capable of living with each other, are too politically fractious to hold the peace as a unit in dealing with Israel.
    Education, reform of the mosque(read reform of Islam), and separation of mosque and state, are just the beginning of the necessary transitional realities. Without these reforms the fuedal primitiveness that has characterized Palestinian behavior politically and socially within their culture will continue unabated.
    Hamas is a terrorist organization.
    The reactionary reality of it’s ilk’s criminal reign has destroyed four generation of Palestinian youth.
    The rest of tribal Islam is egging Hamas on.
    Cosmopolitan Islam is under attack just like the west and Israel.
    It is a was between secular modernity representing civilization, and traditionalist fears expressed through fundamentalism where anarchistic tools are the preferential form of change.
    The reality is that change is inevitable, as is modernity.
    No one can stop time.

    • Michael Perloff

      By cosmopolitan Islam I assume you mean the secular Islam of people who reject key tenets of Islamic ideology.

  • The Oslo accord is null and void!

    The Arab-Palestinians Charter explicitly states that they want the State of Israel for themselves and the Jewish people destroyed.

    The Arab-Palestinians actions to date has proven that they do not want peace. Why is the liberal left and many of the world nations are fantasizing and deluding themselves that the Arabs want peace.

    People of the world wake up and realize what is their ultimate mission, eliminate the unbelievers.
    If the world at large does not wake up now they will be next. It already has started, take off the blinders, open you eyes and look around.

    No entity in the world will force a solution on Israel.
    They forced or were complicit to the Final solution in WWII with the Holocaust and the extermination of over 6 million Jewish people, men women and children.

    Where were the worlds nations outcry, threats and objection when millions of Jewish people were being exterminated, men women and children? They were silent.

    Where was the world nations when the Arab countries expelled over a million Jewish people from their countries who lived there for over 1800 years, the Arabs confiscated their assets, business, homes and land 5 times the size of Israel, valued in the trillions of dollars?

    Where is the world nations today? Why do they ignore when thousands are slaughtered by Muslims throughout the world.
    Today and since 1948. Israel is being threatened with annihilation and when Israel defends itself from destruction, suicide bombers, thousands of missiles, violence, etc, by the Arabs, every country has something to say, threaten Israel and meddle in its business.

    This is the time when nations of the world must mind their own business and stay out of Israel’s internal affairs. Only then there will be a possibility of peace.

    YJ Draiman

    • Michael Perloff

      Excellent comment. However you missed the point about the Arabs’ duplicitous understanding of the meaning of peace. Generally, when people in the west speak of peace they envision the cessation of hostilities, end of incitement, and the institutionalization of reconciliation. In the Arab, peace is the aftermath of annihilating, assimilating, or expelling their enemies. So viewed from the Arab perspective, they do sincerely want peace.

  • Rabbi Menashe Bovit

    From the beginning the “witnesses and guarantors” of the Oslo Accords never had any expectation of the “Palestinians” living up any of their obligations under the agreement. The Oslo Accords were only established to give Israel a sense of “trust” in making concessions and eventually capitulating to all of the demands made by the “Palestinians”. The idea would be “it’s OK Israel, you can make that concession, don’t worry we guaranteed this remember?” The frustration the world has with Israel is that Israel is seen to be intransigent because of not easily cooperating with it’s own demise.

  • shosh

    It is about time for Israeli Government to come to its senses ! Israel is the only country in the world that
    allows its enemies and other Antisemitic countries to
    dictate to her what to do in its own land that she
    conquered back, fair and square, from her enemies.

  • Yale

    Not to mention what the breach of Oslo means about the possibility they would adhere to any agreement that might be reached now.

  • judorebbe

    It only took them twenty years to figure out that Oslo was a sick joke?

  • Lynne T

    When parties breach a binding agreement, there are normally recourses — ie: applying to a court of jurisdiction. Before Israel makes such unilateral move, shouldn’t they be going to the sponsors of the Oslo Accords to help enforce the agreement?

  • Shmuel Solomon

    Yes. I would have to agree that the Accords have been tossed-out by the Palestinian Arabs. Not a big surprise, however. Just like Arafat, who was “all about the money” today’s Palestinian leadership gives the common people “lip-service” while they line their own pockets (and Swiss bank accounts) with cash.
    There is NO money in a Peace Process!

    Besides, the rest of the Arab world still needs to use the Palestinian Arabs as “pawns” against Israel in their vicious game of trying to destroy the Jewish State.

    I am amused that the King of Jordan is one of the “witnesses and guarantors” of the “contractual framework of obligations between Israel and the Palestinians”. It was his father, the (then) King of Jordan, that massacred the Palestinians by the thousands and pushed them out of Jordan in the “Black September” of 1970. He got sick of their terrorist ways and was especially sick of their penchant for hiring terrorists to represent them—-especially Arafat! No, their Arab “bretheren” do not have their best interests at heart either.

    The Palestinians just need to move to Sweden and forget about Israel.

    So kick the Accords to the curb, and carry on!

  • Israel has the legal right to handle every question concerning her security. The PA executives have broken the deal. For every single-handled step, the PA takes Jerusalem should make one more settlement in Judea and Samaria.

  • Robert Davis

    This is a long overdue opinion which must result in the decision to cancel oslo! Israel has consequently the right to BUILD in every part of Gaza,Judea,Samaria and if necessary which is eveident, EXPEL arabs over to jordan and sinai. THIS IS THE WAY TO GET PEACE AT LONG LAST IN ISRAEL not thoise ridiculous negociations aimed exclusively on the best way to destroy Israel. Negociations should have aimed at least one advantage for Israel ie the transfer of arabs whereas all they were aiming at was how to give always more power to arabs! Why should Israel PAY to give more power to arabs???

  • Mickey Oberman

    Why does it take so long for the truth to be recognized and acted upon?

  • Two words – Quite right.

  • Reform School

    Only optimist fools ever expected Arabfat to honor Oslo. Western notions of ‘Honor’ are meaningless to Islam. The Oslo Accords were null-and-void before their ink had dried.

  • charlie johnson

    You can see Bill Clinton’s face beaming and guess his thoughts. I will have these two guys smoking the peace pipe and I shall go home and smoke a big cigar and have a big laugh about my ability to bring peace to a land that has know none in four thousand years.Ha ha ha!

  • They broke it the day they signed it and we did nothing. If the Israel Govt. hasn’t realized this till now I’m sure it will continue doing nothing till Moshiach arrives. Meanwhile HaShem is doing miracles on an hourly basis making the Palestinians refuse the “Land for Peace’ deals our suicidal govt is offering them as well as saving us from their missiles while the govt. does NOTHING.

  • Abbushuki

    Let’s rescind all agreements; go back indeed to June 15, 1967; take administrative control; end all hate media and education; expel anyone who prefers armed conflict; liberate the UNRWA camps allowing all who wish to work, leave or live elsewhere to do so for the first time in 66 years; establish Islamic caliphates in each major city; build factories for employment, have all police report to Israel and finally establish the peaceful integration of hostiles. This was accomplished similarly when West Germany absorbing East Germany; North Vietnam absorbed the South, the Yankees absorbed the Rebels, and many other examples in history.

    There is no need for another Islamic State adjacent to Israel. Israel knows how to elevate the unrepresented, those downtrodden and angry hordes of Arabs who received an indoctrination to hate, have no elected leadership, no free speech, no real civil rights and little capital. If the members of the U.N. who profess to care about the Arabs would maintain their charity, there would be enough funding for an entire new and fair infrastructure. Assuming that those countries would prefer to punish Israel for its beneficence, it would take much longer after pacification and denazification to build up the impoverished peasants who have been victims of Oslo imprisonment by their unelected kleptocracy.

    UNRWA will be then left to maintain its wards where they are forever or to bestow on each family a one-time final grant and the liberty to go their own ways anywhere in the Arab world’s 22 countries.

    This will resolve all issues and peace can prevail. It’s that simple.

  • Trish

    Finally someone has the guts to say it out loud!

  • DPBF

    The so-called “Palestinians”* negated the Oslo Accords on September 14, 1993. Literally. The Arabs were supposed to immediately update their charter to remove the destruction of Israel as a goal. This they never did. In the 21+ years since signing the Accords, they have fulfilled not one single solitary word, titter, jot, letter or comma of the Accords. Not one. Nothing. Nada. Zip. I love my people, but if this is the best this so-called “Israeli think-tank” could think up, then they need to go back to their day jobs.
    *Please stop giving Arab terrorists validity by using the fake nomenclature they came up with solely to deligitimize the Jews. There is no such thing as a Palestinian and we have to stop using the term.

  • Fred Rogers

    Mr. Baker is very right, as would be expected. It is time to understand that the palestinians broke the tenets of Oslo Accords many, many times over many years.

    Abbas has to go and the sooner the better.

    This is not to say that the palestinians don’t deserve their own state. The South Pole is a desert with zero percent humidity most of the time. That would be an excellent place, it would seem. Teach them to fish and they can start a whole new industry down there.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    Although I do not hold a degree in law, it seems to me that logically and common sensibly that the Oslo Accords can no longer be legally binding, viable, valid with the massive effort by one of the two parties, the Palestinians, engaged in the process of violating the integrity of the Accords by attempting to directly take unilateral action and foregoing negotiations with the Israelis in an exclusive effort to attain internationally recognised statehood .

  • art

    Israel has long been held hostage to the Oslo accords. Despite assurances the PA/plo never even amended the plo covenant. The pa has refused to end incitement, normalize relations, renounce violence or terrorism or accept aNY of the obligations of Oslo, Wye, etc. The pa NEVER acted in good faith. The Oslo accords have NEVER been honored by the pa.This also proves that US guarantees are hollow and international guarantees are even less reliable. Knowing that the US eu and un will not be reliable means that Israel would be suicidal and stupid to take any risks for “peace”. Remember that 6 years ago Obama in one of his first acts re established relations with Assad and pressured Israel to surrender the Golan because Assad was Western thinking and a “peace partner” In addition with ISIS the various jihadi groups, the muslim brotherhood there is no rational reason to accept any further risks

  • Negotiating with terrorists never works, and the defunct Oslo Accords are proof. The PLO never genuinely accepted Israel as a Jewish State nor did it keep any lasting agreements. And Israel has a legitimate right to defend itself without apology to anyone.

  • Pinchas Baram

    will BB have the COURAGE to say publicly, I agree with this conclusion re Oslo’s nullification– which will be integral to my policy in the next government?

  • steven L

    The Oslo accords were death-do. But they survived till now. It says a lot about the power of illusions or wishful thinking. As long as Islam does not reform, conflicts will remain.
    The EU does not care what the Palestinians do; for the EU, Israel is still bound by the accords. The “en mass” vote from many EU states in favor of an “AVORTON” is sufficient proof that antisemitism is alive and well in the birth-land of antisemitism.

  • Pi

    Sure, Israel can walk away from the Oslo Accords (with just cause) but would that serve the interests of peace? Why not just work around the accords without repudiating them, while making them superfluous through innovative negotiation? Think differently.

    • Agreed! Think differently!

      Context continually evolves. Oslo is now part of the fabric of the status quo publicly derided by the Obama administration. I wonder if it ever crossed their minds that the status quo may actually be what’s holding everything else together?

  • Part 2 Oslo violation by the Arab-Palestinians

    21 November, 2000

    Part 2 Document: Complete text of Barak Government “white paper” on PA/PLO non-compliance

    A Stake in the Welfare of the Governed?

    Another assumption which sustained the process was the hope that as the P.A. became an established “government”, its choices in the future would be colored by the need to provide for the best interests of the governed – even if the evolution of democratic politics in the P.A. was far from complete.

    This assumption, too, has been brought into question over time, and shattered by recent events. In addition to broader problems arising from the P.A.’s mismanagement of public and economic affairs, specific aspects of its policy towards Israel – above all, the failure to deliver on the restraint of terrorism and terrorist infrastructure – obliged Israel to apply restrictions on the freedom of movement and employment of Palestinians. It is particularly young people who are easily mobilized by the Hamas and its likes, within Israel.

    It was easy enough for the P.A. to blame Israel for the consequences of these restrictions; but at their root was Arafat’s persistent ambiguity on his security commitments (and indeed, when these were more strictly adhered to – under pressure from outside – economic life in the Palestinian governed areas improved significantly, as in 1998-1999).

    The Palestinian leadership’s disregard for the welfare of the governed has now risen to a new level. The thrust of Palestinian propaganda in recent weeks is unmistakable: suffering, particularly the death of children, has become instrumental as its rallying cry to its own people and the Arab world. Thus, it has systematically exploited the tragic death of the child Muhammad al-Durra at Netzarim junction – where he was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle, the P.A. deliberately misrepresenting his death as a “cold-blooded execution”, often several times an hour throughout its television broadcasts.

    In effect, this strategy feeds upon further suffering and disruption – including self-induced economic hardships, while Israel actually seeks to ensure supplies to the P.A. areas. The tactics of the Fatah “Tanzim” (militia) are also apparently designed to bring about further suffering upon civilian populations – as made evident by their use of Beit Jala – a Christian community – to fire on Gilo in Jerusalem, with the full knowledge of the consequences for the (unwilling) residents.

    Give and Take at the Bilateral Table?

    At the core of the present strategy, as clearly stated in Arafat’s speech at the Emergency Arab summit in Cairo (October 21), is the threat that there will be no regional nor international stability unless Palestinian demands are met; and the call upon the international community to replace the current structure of the process (the U.S., according to Arafat, having failed to impose “International Legitimacy” in its Arab interpretation) with a mechanism of coercion.

    Palestinian suffering is thus made the focus of an ‘appeal to the U.N. – including an abuse of the “Uniting for Peace” procedure (which enables the UN General Assembly to overrule the Security Council), and a spurious call for the Security Councilto send forces, Kosovo-style, to “protect the Palestinian Territories” – all in an obvious effort to walk away from the negotiating table and avoid the tough choices involved.

    Evidence for such concepts of “Internationalization” being worked on by Nabil Sha’ath, the P.A. Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, has been available for well over a year (e.g. his statement to al-Ayyam, an official P.A. organ, on May 9, 1999); the current drive for an international commission of inquiry is part and parcel of this design.

    The Root Causes

    What has led Arafat and the P.A. leadership to opt for violence and incitement as an instrument of policy? A consistent pattern of behavior over several weeks, with a clearly defined set of goals (“Internationalization” of the conflict) and with the means (televised Palestinian sacrifice and suffering) apparently well-tailored to achieve them, cannot be simply dismissed as a passing aberration or a “caprice”. Within the limits of what modern political science calls “bounded rationality”, Arafat’s gamble is risky, but not irrational.

    Still, to understand the root causes for this choice – or rather, the Palestinian refusal to choose, once and for all, the path of peace – it is necessary to point out, albeit briefly, some of the recurrent themes in Arafat’s political conduct over the years.

    Arafat’s Strategy of Avoiding Choices

    Throughout his tenure as a leader of Fatah movement and the P.L.O., Arafat attached particular importance to the principle of maintaining “Istiqlal al-Qarrar”, i.e. his ability to avoid becoming anyone’s “agent” (and there were many in the Palestinian arena identified as working for some Arab or foreign interests…).

    A key element in his ability to do so, at least until a major crisis forced a choice or a decision on him, was the constant manoeuver between the poles of any regional or international system in which he worked – Egypt and her rivals in the Arab world; the Cold War protagonists; the Syrians and their enemies in Lebanon.

    In recent years, this pattern of “fence-sitting” and indecision evolved around two polarities:-

    * Playing the U.S. (with which he established a dialogue in December 1988) vs. Iraq (which he came to see as a heroic Arab counter-balance to U.S. power). To some extent, this lactic is still at work. While speaking favorably of Clinton (as distinct from the U.S. Congress…) at the Emergency Arab Summit in Cairo, Arafat also endorsed the call for the lifting of sanctions on the Suffering Iraqi People. Pro-Iraqi sentiments, including the fervent call of demonstrators for Saddam Hussein to “hit, hit Tel Aviv” (with chemical warheads) are indeed rife among Palestinians even now, despite the lessons learned from the disastrous choice in 1990-1991.

    * Playing the dialogue with Israel (and the formal obligations detailed above) – vs. an ambivalent attitude towards the Hamas, terrorism, and the use of violence: the consequences of this way of keeping his options open, and avoiding any implication that he now “belongs” to Israel (like the former S.L.A. in Lebanon…) have become manifest in the recent crisis.

    Diverting Attention from Domestic Failure

    In recent months – well before the Camp David Summit, and not necessarily in connection with Arafat’s positions in the negotiations – a broad body of evidence (albeit vague and circumstantial, given the lack of reliable tools to analyze Palestinian public sentiment under an authoritarian power structure) indicated that much of the P.A.’s initial credit with its own “constituency” has been spent: Khalil Shikaki’s surveys of Palestinian opinion found that Arafat’s approval rates have been falling steadily – well bellow 40% – and that a vast majority of respondents thought of the P.A. institutions as venal, corrupt and incompetent.

    At the core of the problem is the system of centralized economic monopolies, dominated by Muhammad Rashid (Khalid Salam) and his PCSC – with a monopoly Of several basic commodities (“Guardian”, April 27, 1997); the al-Masri family and their holding company, PADICO; and the varied economic interests of the Security “bosses”, Dahlan and Rajoub.

    The results are clear to see: in a climate hostile to real competition and to transparent free market practices, blatant disregard for personal property, bribery, corruption and mismanagement of domestic and aid funds, as well as the lack of compliance with commitments to refrain from those customs have been well documented by the PA’S own public monitoring department, the “Donor countries” and numerous NGO’s.

    [Graph: The development of the Palestinian Real Product per capita
    1993 = 100 (shows peak in 1994 with decline until 1997 followed by partial recovery up to first half of 2000]

    The most striking proof of the PA’S mishandling of its population can be found in the lack of care for its most needy population – the refugees. Not only does the PA insist on not using any portion of its budget towards improving their living standards, it is demanding ‘that the international community increases its support for them.

    Calls upon Arafat, by some of his best friends – such as the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) team, which examined Palestinian governance – – went unheeded, and calls for change from within were roughly repressed. Given this bleak prospect (which reportedly led even Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents, let alone Israeli Arabs, to resist the notion of being transferred to P.A. governance…)

    It is not surprising that Arafat may have felt more comfortable igniting a nationalist struggle – and pinning the blame for future deprivations on Israel – than focusing on the urgent need to reform the Palestinian system.

    Conspiracy Theories and Miscalculations

    Another recurrent pattern which does color Arafat’s judgement, at times – and was certainly evident in the manner in which he “explained” the current crisis to the Emergency Session of the Arab Summit – is his tendency to weave conspiracy theories (Mu’amarat) and use them, with a thin line separating fact from fiction.

    Thus – as an example – in a series of interviews in March and April 1995, including a fascinating meeting with a sympathetic Israeli and American audience, Arafat raised the argument that a secret Israeli organization – an “O.A.S.” within the GSS… – working through the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was in fact responsible for a series of terrorist attacks such as the bombing in Beit Lid (in which 22 Israelis died). It should be noted that this fantastic argument came (already then) in conjunction with a warning: any attempt by Israel to stall on the peace process – because of the security “excuse”, as he saw it – would have a terrible affect on Israel’s standing in the world:-

    “King Hussein will not go on with you, the Egyptians will not, Senegal will not, Mandela will not, if the process with us fails …not with the whole of Africa, and the five Muslim states in Central Asia, not with all of them, not even with China. You know how strong our links are with all of these states…” (Gid’on Levi in “Haaretz”, April 28, 1995; see also “al-Hayyat l-Jadidah”, March 22, 1995).

    This mixture of wild conspiracy theory, and the threat that Israel, the region and the world will know no stability – unless his demands are met – was central, more recently, to his speech in Cairo, where he blamed Israel and the I.D.F. for having conspired for more than a year to prepare the “butchery” of the Palestinian people: hence the urgent need for international protection to be introduced into all “Palestinian Territories”.

    The danger implicit in such manipulative assertions and “claims on reality” is that they can easily develop into a major misreading of the situation and a harmful miscalculation – as was the case in 1995, when Arafat absolved himself in this manner from any serious effort to curb terrorism; and might be the case now.

    [Illustration: The map of “Palestinian Territory” in an official PA document including all of Israel]

    Appendix A; The key commitments undertaken by the P.L.O./ P.A.

    “In light of the new era marked by the signing of the Declaration of Principles, the PLO encourages and calls upon the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to take part in the steps leading to the normalization of life, rejecting violence and terrorism, contributing to peace and stability and participating actively in shaping reconstruction, economic development and cooperation”.
    (Arafat to the then Foreign Minister of Norway, Johan Jorgen Hoist, September 9, 1993 – in a letter which preceded and enabled the DOP).

    This letter to Hoist, and many other formal commitments made since, -were in fact kept at times’, but in a haphazard fashion, and only when it was expedient to do so. All of this contradicts key commitments asked for – and obtained – from the Palestinian negotiating partner over the years:

    Combating Terror and Violence

    * Renunciation of the use of terrorism and other acts of violence (Arafat’s Letter toRabin, September 9, 1993).

    * Recognition of the right of Israel to exist in peace and security (Arafat’s Letter to Rabin, September 9, 1993).

    * Commitment to the peaceful resolution of the conflict and that outstanding permanent status issues will be resolved through negotiations (Arafat’s Letter to Rabin, September 9,1993).

    * Adoption of all necessary measures to prevent acts of terrorism, crime and hostilities and taking of legal measures against offenders (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Article XVIII; Interim Agreement, Article XV).

    * Establishment of a strong police force in order to guarantee public order and internal security for Palestinians (Declaration of Principles, Article VIII; Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Article VIII; Annex I, Article III; Interim Agreement, Article XII, Article XIV).

    * The Palestinian Police will act systematically against all expressions of violence and terror (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article 11.1).

    * The Palestinian Police will arrest and prosecute individuals who are suspected of perpetrating acts of violence or terror (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article 11.1).

    * Immediate, efficient and effective handling of any incident involving a threat or act of violence or incitement (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article 11.2).

    * Apprehension, investigation and prosecution of those directly or indirectly involved in acts of terrorism, violence and incitement (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article 11.3).

    * Security arrangements concerning planning, building and zoning (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Annex I, Article VI; Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article XII).

    * Reaffirmation of commitment to fight terror and violence (Note for the Record on Hebron – January 1997).

    * Reaffirmation of commitment to systematically and effectively combat terrorist organizations and infrastructure (Note _for the Record on Hebron – January 1997).

    * Reaffirmation of commitment to apprehend, prosecute and punishment of terrorists (Note for the Record).

    * Recognition that it is in their vital interests to combat terrorism and fight violence (Wye River Memorandum, Article II).

    * Israeli-Palestinian cooperation to combat violence and terror (Wye River Memorandum, Article II).

    * Comprehensive, continuous and long-term struggle against terror and violence with respect to terrorists, terror support structure and environment conducive to the supportof terror (Wye River Memorandum, Article II).

    * Palestinian side will make known its policy of zero tolerance for terror and violence against both sides (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.Ia).

    * Palestinian work plan to ensure the systematic and effective combat of terrorist organizations and their infrastructure (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.Ib).

    * US-Palestinian committee to review the steps being taken to eliminate terrorist cells and terror support structure (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.Ic).

    * Apprehension of individuals suspected of perpetrating acts of violence and terror and establishment of US-Palestinian committee to review such matter (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.Id.e).

    * Act to ensure immediate, efficient and effective handling of any incident involving a threat or act of terrorism, violence or incitement. Exchange of information and coordination of policies and activities in this regard(Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, Article 8.a).

    * Immediate and effective response to the occurrence or anticipated occurrence of an act of terrorism, violence or incitement and shall take all necessary measures to prevent such an occurrence (Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, Article 8.a).

    Prevention of Incitement

    * Abstention from incitement, including hostile propaganda and adoption of legal measures to prevent such incitement (Interim Agreement, Article XXII).

    * Non-introduction of motifs into educational systems (Interim Agreement, Article XXII).

    * Immediate, efficient and effective handling of any incident involving a threat or act of violence or incitement (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article 11.2).

    * Active prevention of incitement to violence (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article 11.3).

    * Apprehension, investigation and prosecution of those directly or indirectly involved in acts of terrorism, violence and incitement (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article 11.3).

    * Reaffirmation of commitment to prevent incitement and hostile propaganda (Note for the Record).

    * Issuance of a decree, comparable to existing Israeli legislation, prohibiting all forms of incitement to violence or terror and establishment of mechanisms for acting against all expressions or threats of violence or terror (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.3a).

    * Establishment of a US-Palestinian-Israeli committee to monitor cases of possible incitement to violence or terror and to make recommendations and reports on how to prevent such incitement (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.3b).

    * Immediate and effective response to the occurrence or anticipated occurrence of an act of terrorism, violence or incitement and shall take all necessary measures to prevent such an occurrence (Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, Article 8 .a).

    Prohibition of Illegal Weapons

    * No manufacture, sale, acquisition, importation or introduction of any firearms, ammunition, weapons, explosives, gunpowder or related equipment into the West Bank or Gaza Strip, except for those of the Palestinian Police (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Article IX.3; Interim Agreement, Article XIV).

    * The Palestinian Police will prevent the manufacture of weapons as well as the transfer of weapons to persons not licensed to possess them (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article X1.2).

    * Limitations on arms and ammunition for the Palestinian Police (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Annex I, Article III.5, Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article IV; Hebron Protocol, Article 5).

    * Reaffirmation of commitment to confiscate illegal firearms (Note for the Record).

    * Ensuring an effective legal framework to criminalize any importation, manufacturing or unlicensed sale, acquisition or possession of firearms, ammunition or weapons in areas under Palestinian jurisdiction (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.2a).

    * Establishment and implementation of a systematic program for the collection and appropriate handling of illegal weapons etc. (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.2b).

    * Establishment of a US-Palestinian-Israeli committee to assist and enhance cooperation in preventing the smuggling or unauthorized introduction of weapons or explosive materials into Palestinian areas (Wye River Memorandum, Article ILA.2c).

    * Continuation of the program for the collection of illegal weapons, including reports (Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, Article 8.b). Security Cooperation with the Israeli Side

    * Establishment of a Joint Security Coordination and Cooperation Committee and District Coordination Offices (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Article VIII; Annex I, Article II; Interim Agreement, Article XII).

    * Establishment and operation of Joint Patrols and Joint Mobile Units (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Annex I, Article II; Hebron Protocol, Article 4).

    * Establishment of Joint Aviation Committee and Maritime Coordination and Cooperation Center (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Annex I, Article XI, XII; Interim Agreement, Annex I Articles XIII, XIV).

    * Arrest and transfer of individuals suspected of, charged with or convicted of an offense falling under Israeli criminal jurisdiction (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Annex III, Article 11.7; Interim Agreement, Annex IV, Article 11.7).

    * Requests for arrest and transfer of individuals to be submitted to the Joint Legal Committee must be responded to within a twelve-week period (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.B.3)

    * Full and comprehensive bilateral security cooperation (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.B.I).

    * Exchange of forensic expertise, training and assistance (Wye River Memorandum, ArticleII.B.2).

    * Establishment of high ranking US-Palestinian-Israeli committee to assess current threats, deal with impediments to effective security cooperation and address steps being taken to combat terror and terror organizations (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.B.3).

    Undertaking to implement its responsibilities for security and security cooperation (Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, Article 8).

    Appendix B

    Implementation Of The Sharm E-Sheikh Understandings (17-29 October)

    29 Oct. þ2000

    Public statements unequivocally calling for an end of violence
    Israeli side: Unequivocal Palestinian side: Vague

    Opening of international passages
    Israeli side: Completed

    Opening of the Gaza Airport
    Israeli side: Open and operational

    Opening of internal closure
    Israeli side: Completed

    Ensure an end to violence and maintain the calm
    Palestinian side: Continuation of live-fire from automatic weapons and use of explosive devices (~24 incidents per day)

    Renewal of security cooperation
    Israel initialed 3 meetings which were convened at the RSC level

    Renewal of cooperation towards the prevention of terrorism
    Palestinian refusal to participate in Israeli initiated meetings; very low level ad hoc cooperation

    Eliminating points of friction
    Palestinian side: No reduction

    Reimprisonment of released terrorists and security fugitives
    Palestinian side: Hardly any activity- ~30 from over 100; almost all of the 30 were arrested before the Summit; 5 have since been released after their arrest

    End of incitement
    Palestinian side: Continuation of incitement on official Palestinian broadcasts

  • A list of some of the violations by the Arab-Palestinian

    Part 1 Document: Complete text of Barak Government “white paper” on PA/PLO non-compliance

    Document: Complete text of Barak Government “white paper” on PA/PLO non-compliance

    [IMRA note: The Barak Government’s public affairs coordinator, Nahman Shai, released the following “white book” on 20 November 2000. The following is the complete text. Photographs and a graph in the publication have not been included. While the publication was distributed by the Government of Israel at an official meeting with the press, for some reason there is no identifying marking on the publication indicating the source of the publication, the author or that the Government of Israel is in any way associated with the publication]

    Palestinian Authority and P.L.O. Non-Compliance with signed agreements and commitments: A record of bad faith and misconduct

    November þ2000

    Executive Summary

    The present wave of violence – led by the Fatah “Tanzim” – is essentially an attempt by Arafat to achieve, through violence, his maximal political goals: and avoid the choices necessary to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion.

    Key assumptions have thus been shattered:

    * Arafat’s conduct following the Camp David Summit indicates he preferred not to face up to the tough decisions necessary for a historic compromise.

    * Instead of responsibility for the welfare of the governed we see him willing to use Palestinian suffering, including the death of children on the frontline (shamelessly exploited).

    * Rather than take into account Israeli and Jewish sensitivities (side by side with their own legitimate rights) the Palestinians now prefer to stoke the fires of Islamic “Identity Politics” (“al-Quds is in danger”) so as to walk away from the negotiations and replace them by international intervention.

    The dynamics of “the struggle” took precedence over Palestinian commitments. Breaches of these obligations include:

    * Direct use of violence by Palestinian Police (which Arafat regards, in effect, as the P.A. military forces) in violent clashes. One of the most serious cases, for which P.A. Policemen bear at least a major part of the responsibility, was the lynching of two IDF reservists in Ramallah on October 12,2000.

    * Ambivalent attitudes towards terrorism, and at times – outright complicity. Tolerance towards the Hamas helped open the floodgates of the terrorist campaign of February-March 1996; In the current crisis, P.A. Preventive Security, let alone the “Tanzim” (militia) of Arafat’s Fatah movement, are actively involved in terrorist attacks and security cooperation has been abandoned almost entirely.

    * Failure to collect illegal weapons – thousands of which were left, from 1994 onwards in the hands of the Tanzim. Various illegal weapons were sighted in the territories in recent events and during demonstrations and funerals.

    * Incitement to Hatred – a key element in the current crisis has been the relentless effort to mobilize “the Arab masses and destabilize the region – asking “where is Saladin”? This comes against the background of a broader pattern of education and public messages, which denigrate the Jews, and reject the possibility of compromise solutions.

    * The size of the Palestinian Police force- well over 40,000 on the payroll – remains in breach of the Interim Agreement.

    * Palestinian Security Organs Operate Outside the Agreed Areas – particularly Preventive Security, acting in East Jerusalem in open breach of the agreements.

    * In Gaza Airport, there have been repeated cases of misconduct, which raise questions regarding the illegal use of the Airport.

    * On Foreign Relations, the P.A. has been acting in breach of the agreements as to its interim status.

    * Economic and Infrastructure agreements and procedures have been regularly ignored.

    * Criminal activities on a large scale – from car theft to excise tax fraud – take place under P.A. auspices.

    * In the recent crisis, the P.A. failed to protect Jewish Holy places in Nablus and Jericho.

    It should be recalled that the P.L.O. was not an “unknown quantity” when it came into the Peace Process: its institutional record – of terrorism, breach of agreements (with Arab governments – Jordan, Lebanon), and abuse of the “governed” in areas under its control – meant that extensive formal commitments were required – beginning with the pledges given to Prime Minister Rabin prior to the signing of the Declaration of Principles. These, however were often interpreted in a slippery way, or honored only when it was expedient for Arafat and the P.A. to do so.

    Table of Contents:

    1. Why were formal commitments important in the post-1993 peace process?
    2. Indications of Essential Bad Faith: Arafat creates a rationale for non-compliance
    3. Specific aspects of non-compliance
    * Direct Use of Violence:
    * In the recent crisis;
    * At all times (abductions of Israeli citizens, etc.).
    * Terrorism – ambivalence and complicity
    * Failure to Collect Illegal Weapons.
    * Incitement and the Perpetuation of Hatred.
    * Other Aspects of Palestinian non-compliance:
    * The size of the Palestinian Police
    * Security Organs Operating Outside Agreed Areas
    * Breaches of the Agreed Practice at the Gaza (Dahaniyah) Airport
    * No Action to Implement Policy on Visitors Permits
    * Foreign Relations
    * Economic and Infrastructure Breaches
    * Criminal Activity under P.A. Auspices
    * Failure to Protect Holy Places
    4. The Shattered Assumptions
    * An Irreversible Choice for Peace;
    * A Stake in the Welfare of the Governed;
    * Give and Take at the Bilateral Table.
    5. Root Causes
    * Arafat’s Strategy of Avoiding Choices;
    * Diverting Attention from Domestic Failure;
    * Conspiracy Theories and Miscalculations.


    Why were formal commitments important in the post-1993 peace process?

    Since September 1993 the P.L.O., as an organization, became a signatory to the Declaration of Principles and Israel’s negotiating partner. This meant that on a broad set of issues, formal commitments were needed – to try and ensure, as much as possible, that the P.L.O. leadership had clearly broken with past positions, practices and patterns of bad faith, which had marked its conduct as a coalition of “Fidai” (i.e. terrorist) organizations.

    At various points in their history, the P.L.O. and its constituent organizations were committed to a strategy of eliminating Israel as a state, (this strategy was embodied, at the time, in the Palestinian National Covenant). They were implicated in: –

    * Extensive terrorist activity;

    * Breach of agreements and understandings reached with host Arab states;

    * Abuse and misgovernment in the zones which their “State within a State” controlled in Lebanon.

    It is against this background that Israel felt obliged to demand formal commitments on some of the most basic and presumably obvious aspects of the process. Such commitments were indeed obtained; but more often than not, they were interpreted in a slippery way, particularly as regards the key issues of security, the use of violence, and the prevention of terrorism.

    Against the mounting evidence of bad faith, as detailed below, .Israel – and other parties engaged in the negotiations – kept alive the hope for a stable peace, based on the assumption that the process, and its momentum, would modify Arafat’s stance on compliance and on the question of violence as an option. This hope has now been shattered.

    Indications of Essential Bad Faith; Arafat creates a rationale for non-compliance

    As early as Arafat’s own speech on the White House lawn, on September 13, 1993, there were indications that for him, the D.O.P. did not necessarily signify an end to the conflict. He did not, at any point, relinquish his uniform, symbolic of his status as a revolutionary commander; moreover, in terms of the broader historic “narrative”, as distinct from the official position at the negotiating table, the map of “Palestine” remained as it has always been for him, the entire territory of pre-1948 mandatory Palestine (as the attached photograph, of an August 22 1999 visit to a school, clearly indicates[photo from Al-Hayat al-Jadida showing Arafat standing next to such a map].

    On various occasions, Arafat continued to use the language of “Jihad”, literally a “Struggle”, but in the specific (religiously colored) context of the Palestinian struggle, a clear reference to the violent option. Thus, in a eulogy to a Palestinian official – on June 15 1995 (at the height of the Oslo Process) – he paid homage, among others, to two women terrorists (Dalal al-Mughrabi and ‘Abir Wahidi); and spoke of the children throwing stones as “the Palestinian Generals”. He also swore to his audience (which was clearly sympathetic with the Hamas) that “the oath is firm to continue this difficult Jihad, this long Jihad, in the path of martyrs, the path of sacrifices”.

    Of special interest, in this context, are Arafat’s repeated references to the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, signed by the Prophet Muhammad with his Meccan enemies when they were still stronger than him, and then abandoned (as he conquered the city) within a much shorter time than the Treaty itself warranted. The first such reference made public came shortly after the signing of the Interim agreement, in the “Jihad” speech he made at the Mosque in Johannesburg (obtained by the Jewish community, and broadcast in Israel in May 1994).

    What Hudaybiyyah means for him was made even clearer when he spoke, a few months later, on the occasion of the anniversary of the fire in al-Aqsa (an event, in 1968, caused by an Australian madman, but often used in Palestinian propaganda as proof of Israel’s evil intentions).

    “Did the Prophet, Allah’s Messenger, the Last of the Prophets, really accept a humiliation [as “umar bin al-khattab blamed him?] No, and no again. He did not accept a humiliation. But every situation has its own circumstances” (Palestinian Television, August 21, 1995).

    The reference to the Hudaybiyyah treaty re-surfaced in 1998, coupled with the warning that “all the options are open to the Palestinian people”. (Orbit television, April 18, 1998). In essence, here was a rationale for accepting Oslo and the place at the negotiations, and the various commitments involved, not as the building blocks of trust and cooperation but as temporary measures, to be shed off when circumstances allow.

    To Muslim audiences, such as the one he had in the Mosque in Johannesburg in May 1994 (one of the first such speeches in the post-Oslo phase) Arafat – a former Muslim Brother, forced to leave Nasser’s Egypt for that reason in the 1950’s – spoke in the familiar idiom of Islamic radicalism.

    To more secular audiences he offered a possible argument for the conditional or .temporary nature of his commitments by addressing them in the context of the “Strategy of Stages” for the Liberation of Palestine, as endorsed by the PNC in 1974.

    References to the 1974 decision to establish a “Palestinian Authority” on any piece of land Israel would withdraw from were made by Arafat both on the White house lawn in September 1993, and on the occasion of the first session of the P.A. Legislative Council in March 1996 (“al-Ayyam”, March 8, 1996).

    This instrumental view of the commitment to non-violent means, central as this commitment may have been to the entire process, was shared by Arafat’s lieutenants.

    In a speech (documented on video) to a forum in Nablus in January 1996 – again, at a time when the negotiations were going forward – Nabil Sha’ath described the strategy in terms which then sounded unrealistic, but now ring familiar:-

    “We decided to liberate our homeland step-by-step… Should Israel continue – no problem. And so, we honor the peace treaties and non-violence… if and when Israel says “enough”… in that case it is saying that we will return to violence. But this time it will be with 30,000 armed Palestinian soldiers and in a land with elements of freedom… If we reach a dead end we will go back to our war and struggle like we did forty years ago”.

    Following the change of government in Israel, and three weeks before the actual outbreak of violence over the opening of the Western Wall tunnel in Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian Officer – Muhammad Dahlan, the Head of “Preventive Security” in Gaza and currently complicit in the license given to terrorist activity there – warned (“Al-Hayyat”, September 2 1996) that a return to the armed struggle, with the active participation of the P.A. forces, cannot be ruled out in view of the impasse in the process.

    In the wake of the “Tunnel” events (referred to by the Palestinians as the “al-Aqsa Campaign”), Arafat spoke at the Dhaisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem, and again stressed the continuous nature of the Palestinian Jihad (“we know only one word…”) and the fact that “All the options are open”.

    Others continued to reflect this sentiment. The highest religious functionary in the Palestinian hierarchy- the Mufti of “Jerusalem and the Palestinian Lands,” Shaykh lkrimah Sabri, told the Palestinian newspaper “al-Ayyam” (March 3, 1997) that Jerusalem cannot be retrieved through negotiations, and hence the only option is war. The Fatah leader in the West Bank, Marwan Barghuti – a key operator in the present crisis – warned as early as March 1997 that his men are inclined to resume the armed struggle, and applauded the Hamas bombing in Tel Aviv, in which three women were killed (“al-Ayyam”, “al-Hayyat al-Jadidah”, March 26, 27 1997).

    In a rally on November 15, 1998, Arafat again openly threatened that “the Palestinian Rifle is ready and we will aim it if they try to prevent us from praying in Jerusalem… the “Generals of the Stones” are ready”. (al-Ayyam, November 16, 1998). In much the same vein, he spoke to Fatah cadres from the Jerusalem area on the occasion of 31 years after the battle of Karameh, and expressed readiness to face such battles in the future to defend Palestinian rights (“Haaretz”, March 21. 1999).

    More recently – to some extent, under the influence of what was perceived as the “victory” of Hizbullah in Lebanon – references to the violent option proliferated, and indeed the training of children for the armed struggle was deliberately used – during the Camp David Summit – as a hint of what was to come if Palestinian demands were not met.

    As the present crisis unfolded, it was Nabil Sha’ath again who offered an explanation as to what Arafat had meant when he said that “All the options are open”: in aninterview with ANN television in London (October 7, 2000) he reminded his interlocutor that “No one believed him when he used to say it… [but] The choice is not at all between options of negotiation and fighting: you can have negotiations and fight at the same time” (as did the Algerians and the Vietnamese). Hence, “the Palestinian people fight with weapons, with jihad, with Intifada and suicide actions… and it is destined to always fight and negotiate at the same time.”

    Specific aspects of non-compliance

    The issues listed below are by no means exhaustive. They do, however, prove that the rationale for non-compliance, as presented above, actually led to a repeated pattern of abuse, misconduct and outright violence on the part of the P.A.

    In this respect, the current crisis does mark a watershed. It has been preceded by previous “eruptions”, including the “Tunnel” Crisis of September 1996, and the short-lived “Nakba” events in May 2000. Nevertheless, nothing in previous P.A. practice resembles the collapse of all existing commitments, and the systematic creation – day by day, week by week – of an atmosphere of raw emotions, fear and hatred, in pursuit of a general Palestinian and Pan-Arab mobilization.

    All of this is not only in breach of the clearly stated commitments offered at the beginning of the Oslo process, but also in obvious, at times blatant, rejection of the understandings reached at the recent Sharm al-Sheikh Summit. The overwhelming pattern of disregard for both written and informal understandings (overt or otherwise), and in particular the use of an illegally armed militia – answerable to Arafat – in a Low-Intensity Conflict masked as “popular protest” or an “Intifada”, all confirm that from a Palestinian point of view, the new dynamics of the “struggle” – and of the call for Arab and International intervention – take precedence over “pacta sunt servanda”.

    Beyond the current state of warfare, Palestinian non-compliance encompasses broad aspects of everyday practice, from school texts to car theft. Some (not all) of these are discussed here.

    Direct Use of Violence

    Clearly, the most obvious breach of the Palestinian commitments involves the direct participation of its armed forces – the Palestinian “Police” (in effect, Arafat’s regular army) and the various Security organs – in armed clashes with the I.D.F. or in attacks on Israeli citizens.

    The pattern evident in the current crisis had already been established in 1996, when Palestinian policemen played a major role in the extensive clashes that left 15 Israeli soldiers dead; in effect, they acted as a fighting force – even in places where only hours earlier some of them participated in the Joint Patrols with the I.D.F., according to the Interim Agreement.

    In the recent crisis, the role of the regular Palestinian forces has been somewhat more ambiguous – in line with Arafat’s interest in keeping his hand half-hidden, and using mainly his militia forces – the Fatah “Tanzim” or cadres – in the firefights and attacks on Israeli targets. Still, in the context of the overall crisis.

    Local Police commanders were, in fact, given orders, at times, to re-establish law and order and restore the calm – but their actions often indicated that they felt (or rather, realized) that such instructions do not fit in with Arafat’s broader support for the struggle (as reflected in the propaganda effort, as detailed below) and were therefore half-hearted in carrying them out.

    In many cases, Palestinian Policemen took an active part in the fighting, in an organized fashion or as individuals; and there is no evidence (now or on previous occasions) of disciplinary action being taken against those who did so. There is evidence, moreover, as to the complicity of Preventive Security operators – particularly in the Gaza Strip – in armed attacks on the I.D.F. and on Israelis.

    Perhaps the most serious event for which the Palestinian police bears a major share of responsibility in the recent crisis was the lynching of two Israeli reserve soldiers in Ramallah on October 12, 2000. It was indeed a mob which killed them and mutilated their bodies: but it had been the Palestinian policemen who captured them, brought them into the Police Headquarters at the center of town, and then put up only a half-hearted effort to prevent the attack. So far, the P.A. did nothing to punish those responsible.

    Everyday Practices: the Palestinian Security Organs – such as Preventive Security, as well as the General Intelligence Service and its arm in the West Bank, under Colonel Tawfiq Tirawi, have been involved in other violent actions in breach of the agreements, such as the abduction or unlawful arrest of Israeli citizens (in some cases, Israeli Arabs suspected as “collaborators”), and the murder of Palestinian real estate dealers (suspected of selling land to Jews).

    Another salient case (outside the context of any specific local confrontation – in which a senior P.A. official acted, in effect, as a terrorist – involved BG (now a Major General) Ghazi Jabali, the Commander of the Police Force, issuing orders for an attack – actually carried out by two of his colonels – on settlers in the West bank in July 1997 (“Yediot Aharonot”, July 18 1997).

    Moreover, at various “friction points” (e.g. events in Bethlehem, March 1998; the Gush Katif road in the Gaza Strip, July 1998; Khan Yunis, February 1999), Palestinian policemen and members of other organized forces drew weapons in support of violent demonstrators or in direct confrontations with the I.D.F.

    Ambivalence towards, or outright complicity in, acts of terrorism “I want to make it clear that any arrangement or active understanding between the P.L.O. and the Hamas on the possibility of continued terrorism by the Hamas, with the consent of the P.L.O., would preclude an agreement and prevent its implementation” (Prime minister Rabin at the Knesset, April 18 1994).

    In terms of its impact on Israeli society, and hence on the prospects for building the necessary bridges of trust and cooperation, it was the Palestinian failure to comply with its commitments on restraining terrorism – and in fact, the periodic courting of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad as partners in the struggle – which left the most bitter legacy in 1995-1996, and now seems to be repeating itself.

    An important development, in this respect, was the understanding between the P.A. and the Hamas leadership, in preparation for the January 1996 Legislative Council elections – in effect, encompassing the sort of “rules of the game” for terrorist action that Prime Minister Rabin had warned against, more than a year earlier. -What the P.A. sought (in the draft exchanged with the Hamas in October 1995) was “an end to military operations in or from the National Authority’s territory, or declaring them in any form”. (JMCC daily Press Summary, October 12, 1995).

    The actual understanding, reached in Cairo between PNC Chairman Salim al-Za’anun and Hamas leader Khalid Mash’al on December 21 1995 (“al-Quds”, December 22, 1995), allowed the Hamas to “hold on to its reservations” as regards the Palestinian commitments [to restrain terrorism]; but the movement did undertake “not to aim at embarrassing the Authority” – i.e., avoid operations which the P.A. could be blamed for.

    In a joint interview (“al-Nahar'”, December 23, 1995), Za’anun went so far as to explain that in the event of an attack in Hebron (then still under Israeli rule) it will not be the Palestinians’ duty to do anything about it; if Israel wants to avoid such action, it should hurry up and withdraw from the rest of the territories…

    This concept was clarified by the PLO representative in the Arab League, Muhammad Subayh, a few months later: Hamas, he said, had committed itself not to act from inside Palestinian controlled areas (MENA in Arabic, March 8 1996, in FBIS-NES-96-048, March II). By the time this revelation was made, the terrorist campaign within Israel – which nearly brought down the entire process – was already well underway. This only confirmed a general pattern of negligence – and at times, active complicity, or at least tacit moral support for the Hamas – on the part of the P.A. and its security organs.

    Throughout the early period of consolidation in the areas under its control – from May 1994 onwards – Arafat resisted constant pressures by Israel to restrain the Hamas and restrict, if not destroy, the infrastructure established by the terrorist organization. The failure to do so put in question the basic underpinnings of the Oslo accords; and its most evident outcome was a sharp rise in the number of Israelis who fell prey to terrorist attacks during this period.

    Arafat, throughout this period, continued to embrace the Hamas, in political terms; when the “Engineer” Yahia ‘Ayyash – the man behind many of the worst Hamas attacks -was killed, he came to pay his condolences to the Hamas leader Mahmud al-Zahhar (“al-Quds’\ January 6, 1996). Meanwhile, the Preventive Security Chief in Gaza, Dahlan, apparently kept his contacts with the leader of the “‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam” forces – the Hamas military arm – Muhammad Dheif (a childhood friend) and broke them off only after the second bombing in Jerusalem. (“Haaretz”, March 10 1996).

    It was the political fallout (including intense international pressure) following the suicide bombings of February-March 1996 which finally led to a break in this pattern, as the P.A. belatedly awoke to the consequences of its conduct on this issue.

    Still, in March 1997 there was once again more than a hint of a “Green Light ” from Arafat to the Hamas, prior to the bombing in Tel Aviv (later applauded by Barghuti, as mentioned above): this is implicit in the statement made by a Hamas-affiliated member of Arafat’s Cabinet, Imad Faluji, to an American paper (“Miami Herald”, April 5, 1997).

    The next few years, in which the question of “reciprocity” took center stage in the negotiations (culminating in the Wye River memorandum and the attached security understandings), were marked by mixed results – the pressure for security cooperation did lead to partial compliance, but no real steps were taken against terrorist infrastructures; and the “revolving door” practice – i.e., the release of active terrorists and Hamas/Palestinian Islamic Jihad operators, long before they had served their terms – became (and remained) a constant problem.

    The P.A., since its establishment, has in fact taken a consistently lax attitude towards terror activists. It did act, in periodic bursts, to arrest some of them, and to respond (until the recent crisis broke; very rarely since) to specific information from Israel or other (mostly U.S.) sources on actual attacks being planned; but most of the time: –

    * Its policy was to incorporate ex-Fatah “Hawks” (terrorists), members, within the various security organs. In May 1994, as it entered Gaza, the P.A. commissioned as policemen, among others, two brothers – Rajih and ‘Arnru Abu Sittah – wanted for the murder of an Israeli in March 1993 (“Yediot Aharonot” May 27 1994). More than 90 “hawks” – some of them murderers of suspected Palestinian “collaborators”- were recruited in September 1994 (“Haaretz”, September 10, 1994).

    * A similar practice applied to non-Fatah operators – on the assumption (often deadly wrong) that this would “buy them off’. At one point, Ghazi Jabali admitted that more than 150 members of the “opposition” movements serve in his Police force (Palestinian television, June 24, 1997).

    * It systematically refused, often in blatant disregard of the signed commitment to do so, to extradite even a single terrorist from the list (over thirty, at one time) demanded by Israel.

    * In cases where the perpetrators of murders and other serious terrorist attacks were in fact apprehended by the P.A. – at times, claiming that this was little more than “protective custody” against Israeli retaliation – they were put on trial overnight and given bogus sentences, so as to render them unavailable for extradition.

    One such event – the mock trial of two brothers in Jericho, for the murder of two Israeli hikers in Wadi Qelt, in September 1995 – gave rise to a sharp reaction in Israel: the Minister of Education at the time, Prof. Amnon Rubenstein – a strong supporter of the process – made official note of the fact that the P.A. was doing nothing to educate Palestinian youth for peace, that its statements were destroying the effort to build trust, and that a “bad joke” such as the Jericho trial rubs Israeli opinion up the wrong way. (Education Ministry statement, September 18, 1995).

    Failure to collect Illegal Weapons

    Within days of the signing of the Interim Agreement, in Cairo, May 1995, The Preventive Security Chief in the West Bank, Jibril Rajub, made it clear that the Agreement – while expedient for the Palestinians, given the damage done to their cause by the fall of the Soviet Union and Saddam’s defeat in the Gulf war – would not oblige them to act as “Lahad’s Army” (the SLA, Israel’s allies in South Lebanon at the time) in restraining those who seek to carry out armed actions against Israel.

    “As to the question of weapons’ – reported “al-Nahar” on May 25 1994 – “Rajub divided it into three parts: the first, those under national control, i.e. the weapons in the hands of national factions [such as Fatah] which are directed against the occupation – those we shall sanction and tolerate out of national responsibility. The second – those carried, now and in the future, for social or personal reasons, and we shall study how to deal with them. The third – weapons in the hands of suspected characters, bandits and spies, which will be collected at all costs”.

    This clearly meant that no serious effort would be made to implement the unambiguous commitment to collect all illegal weapons. Fatah members continued to carry arms openly, and in recent events have displayed items strictly forbidden to be held in P.A. territories, such as various automatic weapons and hand-grenades. There are indications that heavier weapons – bought, stolen or smuggled – are in the hands of Palestinian forces or militias. In one case, a cache of weapons from a stolen I.D.F. vehicle (see illustration) was commissioned by a Palestinian commander, and retrieved only after intense pressure on the P.A.

    The requirement to collect illegal weapons was therefore re-incorporated in the Wye River memorandum, and again in the February 2000 Sharm el Sheikh summit. The Palestinians agreed to design and implement – step by step – a detailed plan
    for that purpose, but in fact: –

    * The “Law of Arms and Ammunition” passed hastily by the P.A. Legislative Council in the wake of the Wye memorandum falls well short of the requirements outlined in the Interim Agreement;

    * On the ground, Palestinian action has been very limited, as no plan was submitted; on some occasions, visible raids were made against specific arms merchants in the West bank and Gaza (for local/personal reasons).

    * No further reporting was made to the monitoring commission.

    The use of illegally held weapons – particularly in the hands of the “Tanzim” – thus became a key problem in the present crisis. It is also a problem for Palestinian society at large: regular reports on the extensive use of such weapons at wedding parties, etc., has given rise to sharp debate. The answer, as propagated by the nationalist media – “turn all your gun barrels towards the enemy”.

    [Photographs: Illegal weapons in the PA territories: A rifle with a telescopic sight. A hand grenade. Uzi submachine gun. Anti-tank missile]

    Incitement and the Perpetuation of Hatred Since the Palestinian leadership continued to look upon the current situation as transitory, no systematic effort was made to re-educate Palestinian youth, or the public at large, as to the need to accept Israel as a neighbor and peace as a value. Most of the work done in this respect was carried out by external NGO’s, such as Seeds of Peace.

    It took a long and sustained effort to introduce some change and remove explicit anti-Jewish texts from Palestinian school books, and even so, they do not include any map showing Israel or even Tel Aviv as a city. As indicated above, there is only one map of Palestine in use – and displayed in huge format everywhere. Schools and institutions of higher education are used to perpetuate this historic narrative. The question of education and incitement was raised at the Wye River talks, and a joint committee was established to discuss it: but not much action was taken – it was impossible to bridge the basic conceptual gap – and the committee soon became defunct. The extent of Palestinian efforts to perpetuate hatred and rejection of Zionism and Israel (and all too often, in more popular usage, “the Jews”) is too broad to cover, beyond certain glaring visual examples.

    In the run-up to the present crisis, two key officials played a salient role in stressing to the Palestinian public the impossibility of any compromise and the need to prepare for a confrontation:

    * Hasan al-Kashif, the Director-General of the P.A. Ministry of Information, and a daily commentator in both the electronic media and “al-Ayyam”, has been arguing that since the Palestinians cannot possibly accept the Camp David offers (or any other departure from the Arab interpretation of 242), they should prepare for a prolonged struggle (and hoard food);

    * Shaikh lkrimah Sabri, Mufti of Jerusalem, kept up – in the context of the discussion on the future of the Temple Mount, during and after Camp David – a steady flow of incitement and hatred, raising fears (despite 33 years of Israeli rule) that the Jews plan to destroy al-Aqsa and rebuild their temple, and the struggle for Jerusalem has begun.

    Once the actual violence erupted, incitement took an unprecedented form, designed to instill hatred and to mobilize “the Arab Masses”. It was marked, above all, by the incessant exploitation of the terrible visions of Muhammad al-Durra’s death (captioned as an “execution”) – as well as visual and highly detailed displays of the dead and injured, including guided televised tours to the morgue, and close-ups of the wounds. Woven in with nationalist songs – “where are the millions” [of Arabs], where are ‘Umar and Saladin. (armed conquerors of Jerusalem) – this mix is broadcast without respite for days on end, broken only by the news and by political talk-shows (where participants, and even more so the callers, vie with each other in the intensity of their anger, hatred and plans of action against Israel).

    In the final statement read by President Clinton at the recent Sharm el-Sheikh summit, both sides were clearly expected to have committed themselves to put an end to incitement as well as to violence. That did not happen. For a few hours there was some” toning down in Palestinian television coverage of what was described as “a peaceful intifada”: but as night fell and the Tanzim kept shooting, the propaganda machinery took its cue and the constant parade of suffering and death resumed.

    The suffering is real enough: so is the use made of it. It is increasingly obvious – even to Palestinians? – that the mix of violence, and the political exploitation of suffering, requires children to be pushed forward into harm’s way.

    Other Aspects of Palestinian non-compliance

    The key issues discussed above are by no means exhaustive. On a broad range of other questions, the Palestinians either knowingly ignored or at least failed to implement the commitments it has undertook; and its conduct further undermined the very bridges of trust and cooperation which the interim period was supposed to build.

    The Size of the Palestinian Police

    The number of Palestinian Policemen (in effect, soldiers) is in constant breach of the Interim Agreements: when the overall situation was last reviewed, in March 2000, it continued to exceed the agreed number – 30,000 – by more than 10,000; and only 20,000 among them have had their names submitted for Israeli vetting and approval as required.

    The Wye River memorandum, followed by the (first) Sharm el-Sheikh commitments, included a mechanism designed to put an end to this situation; the Palestinians undertook to transfer a list of all policemen. In February 2000 they indeed submitted two lists – one for active service Policemen (26,000)and the other for unemployed men registered as Policemen (16,000). In any case, the Palestinian side did not act to resolve this case of non-compliance.

    Palestinian Security Organs Operating Outside the Agreed Areas

    Another persistent breach of the agreements is the activity by Palestinian policemen/ soldiers (regularly, in “B” areas – which should remain under Israeli security authority; occasionally in “C” areas – designed to remain fully in Israelihands). Members of the various security organs, particularly Preventive Security, (at all times and in all areas, including East Jerusalem and Hebron), appear in zones where they may not operate without prior coordination with the Israeli side.

    Breaches of the Agreed Practice at the Gaza(Dahanivvah) Airport

    Since the Airport Protocol was signed, a pattern of systematic breaches and disruptions has emerged: ambulances being used to circumvent inspection (and in one case, on December18, 1999, to run-in a wanted terrorist); workers crowding around the aircraft, disrupting the agreed procedures; ignoring the protocol provisions for the vetting of workers: and contracting a cargo facility without notification.

    No Action to Implement Agreed Policy on Visitors Permits

    As part of a broader pattern of manipulating or violating the rules on immigration and registration, more than 40,000 people are estimated to have overstayed their visitors permits in the P.A. areas, and in fact, to have settled as residents, in breach of the agreements; in some cases, such visitors are known to be in the employ of P.A. institutions.

    Foreign Relations

    Much of the P.A.’s network of foreign relations, either bilateral or in terms of Palestinian participation in international organizations – including the trade agreement signed with the European, is in contravention of the Interim Agreement, which defined the limits of its authority (any document, agreement or treaty signed with a foreign entity by a P.A. “Minister”, as distinct from a P.L.O. function, is in breach of the P.A.’s status.

    Economic Breaches

    The PA systematically blames Israel for mismanagement of PA funds. To its public it claims that Israel has not transferred 800 million NIS to the PA and that is the reason for lack of payment to teachers and other public workers. That, in spite of the fact that Israel had transferred its dues (even during the current crisis) and signed an agreement with the PA in June 2000 to include purchase tax in the transfers.

    The PA refused to acknowledge or pay the debts, which have grown to considerable amounts, of the municipalities to the Israeli utility companies. Whenever the utility companies tried to cut their services because of non-payment of debts – the Palestinians blamed Israel for hurting the population. Another example is the chop-shops which have thrived in the Palestinian controlled areas.

    Infrastructure Breaches

    The P.A. regularly ignores agreed planning and zoning, as well as the agreements on economic cooperation: –

    * Building roads and public projects in area “C”, where it has no legal jurisdiction;

    * Invading state lands in area “C” and unassigned areas (“white” on the map) – some 180 such invasions in the Gaza Strip, and 210 in the West Bank, were counted in February 2000;

    * Carrying out unlawful or uncoordinated water and electricity projects;

    * Operating broadcasts on uncoordinated frequencies;

    Criminal Activity under P.A. Auspices

    The Interim Agreement of 1994 committed both sides to cooperate in preventing crime and to exchange information; the Wye River memorandum in 1998 added a specific Ad Hoc Committee to discuss their economic relationship, including “Cooperation in combating car theft”.

    In fact, however, car theft and other forms of criminal activity continue to thrive, often on such a scale that it is no longer possible to argue that it could go on unless sanctioned to some extent by the Palestinian Police and Security organs. There are indications that they take their cut on this “industry” (most of the 45,000 vehicles stolen in Israel in 1997 are assumed to have ended up in the P.A. areas, stripped for parts or even “appropriated” by P.A. functionaries – “Haaretz”, August 21, 1998) – and that a well placed call to senior Palestinian officers can in fact retrieve a stolen vehicle.

    Other forms of criminal activity that the P.A. regularly ignored or even sanctioned involve financial fraud, large-scale excise tax schemes (one of which involved the Preventive Security Chief in the West Bank, Jibril Rajub – his Israeli accomplices were arrested and convicted); intellectual property crimes, and marketing sub-standard products.

    Failure to Protect Holy Places

    On two major occasions, during the recent crisis, P.A. forces failed to uphold their Interim Agreement obligations – and in the case of Joseph’s Tomb, a promise just given to Israeli commanders in the Nablus area – to protect holy Jewish sites.

    Following Israel’s decision to evacuate Joseph’s Tomb – so as to avoid further bloodshed – it was looted, torched and in parts dismantled. Local Palestinian commanders openly stated that no Israeli would set foot there again; and indeed, one man who apparently wanted to visit the site was brutally murdered, and a group of hikers (including women and children) “suspected” of coming too near to the Tomb, were shot at, wounded and one was killed.

    Moreover, in October 12, 2000, Palestinian Police failed to prevent the desecration of the ancient “Shalom al Yisrael” synagogue in the Jericho area, which was looted and partly torched.

    Belated attempts to undo the damage seem to have been made largely because of the severe international reaction to these failures to uphold Palestinian commitments (let alone recognize Jewish religious sensitivities: an atmosphere made worse by the crude arguments, used by Arafat and others to dismiss any Jewish claim to the Temple Mount) .

    The Shattered Assumptions

    What does this all add up to?

    The very nature of the Oslo Process assumed that over time, if not overnight, a new reality of bilateral relations would be created on the ground, with an open prospect to Palestinian Sovereignty in sight. This would lead Arafat away from the option of violence and “struggle” (which he and others in the P.A. continued to articulate). This has not happened.

    An Irreversible Choice for Peace?

    In a recent article, written as a letter to Arafat (“Time to Choose, Yasir”, October 6 2000) the American columnist Thomas Friedman called upon him to choose who he is: a peacemaker or an unregenerate revolutionary.

    The evidence presented in this document – along with his conduct in recent weeks – strongly suggests that this choice has not yet been made; or else that the P.A. leadership has opted for violence, in response to the call for “hard decisions” placed upon it after the Camp David Summit. Arafat had let it be known to the Fatah movement, his key political and paramilitary instrument, that he expects them to act (and take up arms); and this action was supported and sustained by the heated intensity of the incitement dished out by Palestinian media organs – papers, radio stations, and above all by Palestinian Television.

    The option of an armed “intifadha” has been long in preparation, both in terms of planning (as overall evidence, including the indications from intelligence sources, has been showing well before the actual outbreak of violence), and in the manner in which Palestinian and Arab public opinion was worked up against the possibility of compromise on the key issues.

    Part 2 next

  • John Glueck

    At no time have the Oslo Accords been effective. They should have been declared void after Arafat rejected the proposals and began the low grade war we call the intifada. The charade generated the awards for a murderer, Arafat, and a man who lost his moral compass, Rabin. And making the deal was the purpose of “clown prince Clinton” from the beginning. Kerry and Obama may aim for the same kind of chicanery by manipulating the elections, blackmailing the PM with back-channel threats and trying to prop up the vile terrorist Abbas.

  • RobiMac

    The Palestinians never honored the Oslo Accords to begin with. It’s about time Israel returned in kind and kicked them to the curb as well.

    Israel is eternal because Elohim’s got her back.

  • nelson marans

    The question that should be asked is whether the Oslo accords were ever valid for the Palestinian Arabs and unfortunately the answer was No. From the very start there was no intent by Palestinian Arab leaders to live uo to the terms of the accords, only deriving the benefit of Israeli concessions. Oslo accords have been a dismal one-sided failure.

  • Everett Benson

    The only thing questionable about Alan Baker’s conclusion is why it is so belated. From the very beginning of the newly instituted P.A. in 1994, under the PLO leader Yasser Arafat, the P.A. violated every single clause of the signed Oslo Accords agreement, including the one requiring that the P.A. not go over Israel’s head to international fora to attack Israel, but that it had instead to deal with issues directly with Israel.

    Similarly, it did not restrict the numbers of its police forces to the figure stipulated in the Accord, nor the types of weapons issued to them, nor even register the weapons issued to them with Israel as required, nor extradite terrorist criminals to Israel, nor cooperate with joint patrols in the P.A. territories, etc., etc., etc.

    Literally none of the Accord stipulations were observed, although in regard to the crucial clause that the P.A. leadership renounce violence and rejection of Israel’s existence, there was eventually, after years of pressure, a little charade of voting the cancellation of the Palestine National Covenant’s founding principles which called for the destruction of Israel (this cancellation, resisted by Arafat, had finally been forced on him by US President Clinton – but the informal voice vote did not conform to the procedures specified in the Palestine National Covenant for amendments to be valid).

    The Oslo Accords have been a dead letter for a full decade. Only Israel has kept to it, in wilful blindness to the actuality, “for the sake of peace.” It is long past time to acknowledge this.

    • Everett Benson

      I cannot edit my post, so I can only add this comment: I meant that the Oslo Accords have been in truth a dead letter from their inception for two full decades, since 1994.

  • Chaim

    But Israel’s internal enemies who’ve infiltrated the government at the highest level disregard this reality so they can continue with the destruction. Israel needs an armed revolution to excrete the corrupt leftist traitors from the land.

  • Leo Toystory

    If anyone can name any of the accords the Palestinkians have honored please post them.

  • Bernard Ross

    Furthermore, with Oslo dead there is no legal reason for the continuing residence of the hundreds of thousands PLO families allowed into Israel solely on the basis of the Oslo Accords. They should all be deported back to Tunisia or elsewhere and temporarily put in refugee camps until their deportation. Their residence in Israel is now anachronistic.

  • A short synopsis of Jewish History and the Arab Israeli conflict by YJ Draiman
    Jerusalem Post”Ž – 12 hours ago
    Jews have the absolute right for their homeland. Zionism the movement itself was created …