August 15, 2001 Special Dispatch No. 254

The Oslo Agreements: The Big Scam

August 15, 2001
Special Dispatch No. 254

During the past few months, numerous Israeli commentators, columnists, academics, politicians, intellectuals, authors and otheropinion makers from across the political spectrum, have written articles regarding their disillusionment with the Palestinians ingeneral, with Yasser Arafat in particular, and with the Oslo process as a whole. Most articles pointed fingers at the Palestinian side,and accused it of deceiving and misleading the Israeli public and government.

In a soul-searching article in the Israeli daily Ma'ariv, commentator Amnon Dankner - who himself was an active memberof the peace camp - claimed that, when examining the facts dating back to 1993, it seems that Israeli leaders and intellectuals werealso at fault for misleading the Israeli public. Following are excerpts from Dankner's article:[1]

The Palestinian Side
"During the past few days, Shimon Peres has heard difficult statements said about Yasser Arafat from Abu 'Alaa and Abu Mazen, who claimed that Arafat is leading the Palestinian people to a disaster. Peres refused to publicly confirm [this], …but the story is, however, true. The only question that remains open is whether Shimon Peres himself led his people – and the Palestinian people – to no less than the brink of disaster."

"Peres, together with his partner the late Yitzhak Rabin, signed the Oslo Agreements with Yasser Arafat in what was then termed 'the peace of the brave', and brought us to this point, meaning, to a point in which there are more talks and predictions of a disastrous military confrontation…than optimists had forecast. Today, it is incumbent upon honest people - regardless of their principal position toward the occupation and the settlements their obvious damages - to think about the question of whether we fell into the trap of one of the biggest scams in history."

"There are those who support the position that the Oslo Agreements were a successful concept, but that its implementation was a failure. They put the blame primarily on Israel, for dragging its heels during the process…for continuing the terrible occupation, and for the enormous increase in number of settlers. True, they say, the Palestinians also had a part in the missed opportunity. However, …the weak are allowed to make mistakes more than the strong. Nonetheless, beyond the measuring of the degree of responsibility of one side or another for the deterioration of the situation, the question that must be asked is: Is there any justified basis for the Oslo Agreement? Or perhaps it is based on a Palestinian scam and deception [plan]."

"The basis for the agreement was a mutual recognition of Israel and the PLO. Meaning, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state with a legitimate right of existence by the National Palestinian Movement. But now it is becoming clear, especially since [the outbreak of] the Al-Aqsa Intifada, that the Palestinian leadership never had the genuine intention [of doing that]. Arafat used the Oslo Agreements in order to relocate from Tunis to Ramallah and Gaza, and to begin establishing a national Palestinian entity in the territories. [Arafat signed the agreements] not in order to bring a resolution of two nations to two peoples, but in order to use this platform as a stage for an all out and prolonged struggle which will eventually bring Israel to a point of attrition, the breakdown of its society, and a Palestinian occupation of all the territory between the Jordan [river] and the Mediterranean."

"Prior to his death, Faysal Al-Husseini gave an interview to an Egyptian newspaper, where he openly admitted the Palestinian aims when he said that they were supposed to imitate the 'cunning infiltration' of the Jews to Israel, and their subsequent taking of control, and to do the same to Israel. But there was no need for this interview - with the man who misled thousands of Israeli peace supporters during intimate meetings [in which] he allured them using manipulative statements - in order to understand the issue. Many Palestinian spokespersons imitate and publicly endorse these statements with an impressive frankness, especially during the past few months. The Palestinian insistence on the realization of the right of return in any possible permanent agreement openly and formally attests to that."

The Israeli Side
"Based on these facts, it was both sad and embarrassing to watch the Israeli peace-loving delegation, headed by Amos Oz, A. B. Yehoshua, and David Grossman, meeting with Yasser Abd Robbo, Hanan Ashrawi, and Saib Ereiqat, in a pathetic attempt to resurrect the peace process (only from the Israeli side, one must unfortunately add) … "

"The question of why well-intentioned smart people repeatedly entrust [their lives in others' hands]… and participate in the Palestinian Authority's deception-productions of the Israeli public opinion, is a good and annoying question. Why Yossi Sarid is choosing to serve as the director of Yasser Arafat's pathetic deception-shows for the Israeli papers, is just as good and annoying question. Is there a part of the Israeli left that has a sense of bad conscience, any guilt trips, a motive to hide and to cover their mistakes with excessive and useless feats? Did not some of them take a part in the process of the big scam?"

"When A. B. Yehoshua supported the Oslo Agreements in his articles, he promised his readers that if the Palestinians will violate the agreements with blood and fire, he would support harsh Israeli military actions against them…Blood and fire did break out, but Yehoshua never kept his promise. When there were severe statements [coming from] the Palestinian side, which testified for the scam - including statements by Arafat - the Oslo supporters either ignored them or downplayed their significance, and by doing so actively contributed to the scam."

"But the best example for the existence of an intentional scam on the Israeli side is the Palestinian state. Many will certainly be surprised to remember that the Oslo architects - Rabin and Peres - spoke in a clear, decisive, and unambiguous manner against a Palestinian state long after the signing of the agreements, and related to dangers [in its establishment]. Shimon Peres was especially clever in doing so when he analyzed, in numerous interviews, articles, and books, the dangers in the existence of an armed Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel. The selling of the Oslo Agreements to the Israeli public opinion was, in large part, based on the assumption that there would never be a Palestinian state."

"Now it is either one of two things: Either Shimon Peres and his partners…were dragged into this direction by the developments in the regional and international reality, and thus their calculations at the beginning of the process were proven wrong, and that they are lousy politicians; or that deep inside they knew right from the beginning – …that there is no escape from this consequence, in which case one could say that they intentionally and maliciously deceived the Israeli public opinion and sold it a bitter pill with a sweet and deceitful coating."

"When Yossi Sarid objected to the Meretz Conference decision to divide Jerusalem, did he do it because he believed in it at that time, or did he do it because he understood that this was a decision that would create an objection from large circles of the Meretz voters…and decided to kill the issue for the purpose of deceiving the public?"

"One of the ways to sell Oslo to the public was that [those who supported it said that] it presented an opportunity for the Palestinians, which if they would miss, by [continuing to engage in] terror activity against Israel - they would face terrible blows of our wrath for abusing our goodwill and innocent heart. Now the situation is that these same people…would not support today their own previous statements. Furthermore, they warn us – justifiably so, much to our chagrin – that such blows will result in a regional tremor and will send Israel and its leaders to the bench of the accused, which is reserved for Milosevich and his ilk."

"One of the mantras of the devotees of the Oslo scam - when, time and again Arafat was revealed as Ariel Sharon accurately described him: a pathological liar, agreement violator, and terror initiator… - was that we do not and cannot decide who will lead the Palestinian Authority. This assertion actually [admitted that], it is true that Arafat is a villain and that his signature is not worth the paper that its signed on, it is true that he is killing our people, but he is the legitimate leader of the Palestinian people and we have to do business with him."

"This is a deceptive statement in its basis: After all, if it is true that he is the leader, and if it is true that he does not sincerely and truly intend to make peace with us, but rather misleading us - the alternative is not trying to replace him but rather not to conduct the scam-business with him."

"Does the bringing to light [of the big scam] imply that there should be a continuation of the occupation and the settlements, and is it true that whoever believes that the Oslo Agreement was a huge failure automatically becomes a man of the right? This allows the Oslo orphans to accuse anyone [who rejects their way] that a yarmulka has appeared on his head and that he became a believer in "Greater Israel" [i.e., that he became a settler]. And this, of course, is nonsense."

"There is a big difference between the political and moral ideas in which people believed for years, and an honest examination of their unsuccessful implementation. It is fair to say that the occupation of 1967 and the abundance of settlements were failed ideas by almost any measure, and at the same time it is [also] fair to say that Oslo brought us to the brink of war rather than towards peace, and severely worsened our security, political, and international position."

"The fact that integrity obliges us to say that the right was correct in its analysis of the Oslo agreements, and in their warnings against the dangers of Oslo, does not mean that they laid a reasonable outline for the future in the form of continued occupation, settlement, or annexation of territories. The Israeli march of folly marched for many years from left to right, and both camps participated [in it] with blind enthusiasm while each one of them is pulling to a different misleading direction."

"The question that everyone must ask themselves today is: If you could return back in a time machine to 1993, would you support the Oslo agreement knowing what you know today? Only a reminder: In 1993, the Intifada was wearing down almost to a point of a halt, Arafat was an international outcast, boycotted in the Arab world, and his power and influence hit an all time low due to his support of Saddam Hussein, and he was in Tunis, subject to be transferred, with his headquarters, to Yemen. No one has yet heard of suicide bombings, and there are no regular armed Palestinian forces at a walking distance from Israeli towns and military bases. This was the situation [as of 1993]." "Now you tell me: Was it worth it? And if your answer is that the alternative could have been worse, think whether the reality today is not worse then any imaginable scenario."

[1] "The Big Scam. " Ma'ariv, July 13, 2001. Subtitles are those of the translator.

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