Bitter legacy of Israel peace hopes
By STEVE HUNTLEY September 16, 2013 5:24PM
Updated: October 18, 2013 6:08AM
In a speech I gave a few years ago, I talked about all the things that went wrong with the Oslo Accords aimed at achieving a durable peace arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Among them: The execrable murderer and terrorist Yasser Arafat was liberated from exile and allowed to return to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, venomous anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bile boiled and seethed ever after in the disputed territories, weapons flowed to Palestinian militant groups and terror cells, the best hope of a two-state solution was offered up by Israel and spurned by Arafat, who unleashed a hellish terror war of bombings, shootings and lynchings against Israeli men, women and children.
While agreeing to all that, someone in the pro-Israel audience for my speech offered up the proposition, met with a murmur of agreement by others, that Oslo was necessary to reveal to Israel and the rest of the world the true nature of Arafat’s perfidy and the false promise of peace from the Palestinian leadership.
It’s been 20 years since the Sept. 13, 1993, White House signing ceremony for the Oslo Accords presided over by President Bill Clinton. Prospects for achieving a durable peace agreement seem more remote than ever despite the continuing commitment to a two-state solution by Israel, recently reaffirmed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A new round of negotiations is underway, birthed by the perseverance of Secretary of State John Kerry. But persistent sniping and leaks about the talks — in defiance of a promise not to do so — by Palestinian officials only underscore the faint prospects for a breakthrough.
Such Palestinian behavior confirms a major Oslo legacy: Many Israelis lost faith that they have a peace partner in the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, who signed the accords for the Palestine Liberation Organization.
That revelation was the point of the audience member that night. But the rest of her observation, that the world had seen the light of Palestinian hostility to peace, doesn’t hold up.
The elites governing Europe, consumed by post-colonial and white guilt, rail about “occupation” and Israeli settlements, and feed the Palestinian sense of victimhood. That’s a view echoed in left-wing politics and subscribed to by some mainline churches in America.
Ignored is the undisputable history of terror I laid out in my speech. Also ignored were the repeated Palestinian rejections of generous peace terms in 2000 and 2008, and the 2005 land-for-peace deal that turned horribly bad when Israel left Gaza and its new Hamas overlords made it into a terrorist statelet firing rockets at Israel.
Ignored too is the ceaseless propaganda campaign of hate, often from Palestinian Authority sources. For example, visits by Jewish worshippers to the Western Wall in Jerusalem were described in PA-controlled media as attempts by “hordes of settlers and Jewish extremists to storm and desecrate” the nearby al-Aksa mosque, reports the Jerusalem Post.
The Oslo Accords glowed golden with hope. All that is left is a bitter legacy of death, pitiless terrorism, relentless Palestinian intransigence and shattered dreams of peace.