October 29, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8338

Palestinian Official Warns: Revoking Oslo Accord Will Enable Israel To Liquidate The Palestinian Cause

October 29, 2019
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 8338

In an article in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds, Palestinian Legislative Council member Faisal Abu Khadra came out against those calling to revoke the 1993 Oslo Accord with Israel within Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), as well as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), which are members of the PLO. Abu Khadra noted that, for all its flaws, the Oslo Accord has afforded the Palestinians many achievements and has been embraced by the international community. The opponents of the accord, he said, do not understand its deep diplomatic implications, such as Israel's recognition of the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, the defining of the West Bank and Gaza as a single geographical unit, and the understanding that major issues, such as Jerusalem and the refugees, will be resolved in the negotiations on the final settlement. He warned that canceling the accord will take the Palestinians back to the days when they had to beg various countries to tolerate Palestinian presence within their territory. Furthermore, the accord enabled the return of some 600,000 Palestinians – members of the various Palestinian factions and their families – to the West Bank and Gaza, and revoking it may bring about the expulsion of these people and their descendants, who now number about one million. Abu Khadra called on the Palestinians to act wisely and to understand that only through presence on Palestinian soil and through unity, patience, a peaceful intifada and civil disobedience, will they be able to actualize their national rights.

Faisal Abu Khadra (Source:

The following are translated excerpts from Abu Kharda's article:[1]

Those Calling To Revoke The Oslo Accord Have Not Read It And Do Not Understand Its Political Implications

"Lately there has been an increasing debate about the [right] position [to take] on the Oslo Accord, in light of the waning of the peace process and Israel's aggressive activity against our people, its denial of [our people's] inalienable national rights, its flagrant violations of the accord, and its prime minister's declaration of his intention to annex the [Jordan] Valley and extensive parts of the occupied West Bank [to Israel]. In this situation, some people have been loudly demanding that the Palestinian leadership revoke the Oslo Accord and go back to square one... Conversely, others have called to adhere to the accord, which Israel signed under U.S. sponsorship, which was embraced by the international community, and which has afforded the Palestinians important achievements, despite some of its loopholes.

"As an independent Palestinian, I am sorry to say, with complete sincerity, that many people – including officials in Hamas, [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad and other factions – have never read the Oslo Accord or considered its diplomatic significance. In this agreement, signed by Israel and the PLO, Israel recognized the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people... [This move] had many political implications, chief of which is [Israel's] recognition of the Palestinian people and Palestinian cause, represented by the PLO, not only as a humanitarian issue but also as a diplomatic one, in return for the PLO's recognition of Israel. This means that Israel recognized [the state of] Palestine, whose borders are to be determined in the negotiations on the permanent settlement. This too is part of the [Oslo] Accord, which stipulates that the issues of the borders, the refugees, Jerusalem and the water [arrangements] are the central issues to be discussed in the negotiations on the permanent settlement.

"The Palestinian recognition of Israel means recognition of Israel inside the so-called Green Line. This means that the borders of the future Palestinian state will be as stipulated in [UN Resolution] 242. That is, there will be a full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied in 1967, which had been under the rule of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan."

The Agreement Was Recognized By The International Community, Enabled Thousands Of Palestinians To Return To The Homeland, And Defined The West Bank and Gaza As A Single Geographical Unit

"Those who call to revoke the Oslo [Accord], I wonder what alternative they suggest [we adopt]. Let me address some of the important points, for those who do not suggest a realistic alternative, in light of the situation in the Arab, Islamic and international arenas. The [Oslo] Accord was signed on September 13, 1993, in the presence of U.S. president [Bill] Clinton, the late great [Palestinian] president Yasser Arafat, our brother President Mahmoud 'Abbas, who then served as the secretary of the PLO Executive Committee, Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres. Also present were the Russian representative, [then foreign minister] Andrey Kozyrev, representatives of the European Union and China, and representatives of many other Arab and non-Arab states – with all this implies in terms of the international community's endorsement of this agreement and support of it. Following this accord, other agreements were signed, such as the Paris Protocol on Economic Relations, which was appended to the Oslo Accord. All these accords and agreements are clear proof that the Palestinian state is within reach, and that the only thing needed in order to establish it is [an agreement] about the borders and the other permanent settlement issues.

"Former [Palestinian] president Yasser Arafat and current president Abu Mazen succeeded in bringing into the homeland, through the border crossings in Gaza, the West Bank, the Jericho area and the [Jordan] Valley, members and fighters of all the PLO factions, with their families, as well as members of Hamas and  [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad, with their families – over 600,000 people in total. Today their number has reached one million, and they live in their homeland, on Palestinian soil, among their brethren. By means of the Oslo Accord, for the first time in the history of our struggle against the occupier, the Palestinian leadership thus managed to reverse the direction of Palestinian immigration: into the homeland instead of away from it. [As a result], the Palestinian leadership, with all its factions and members, along with our people, [now] continues to pursue our legitimate goals by other means, [but they do it] out of the homeland and not out of some other Arab or non-Arab capital. This is why President Mahmoud 'Abbas insists that all Palestinian political conventions, such as the Palestinian National Council and Palestinian Central Council conventions, and every [other] Palestinian convention, take place in our land of Palestine rather than in Beirut, Algiers or any other city. Had it not been for the Oslo Accord, our conventions might have been held today in some Arab capital, in some far-flung non-Arab capital, or perhaps even in the jungles of Africa. Also, considering the situation in the Arab [region] and in the world at large, the fate of the 600,000 fighters and members [of the Palestinian factions] and their families may have been dire or even tragic. These facts may not be to the liking of some, but this is the truth, despite [all] the tragedies of Oslo.

"The fourth article of this agreement, which has not been read by many of those calling to revoke it, states that the West Bank and Gaza are one inseparable unit. Sadly, the schism of 2006 and the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip brought about the deplorable division that we witness today, which serves the plans of the occupation and its ally, the Trump administration. What's more, some insist on perpetuating this disgraceful schism which is a stain on the glorious history of our people's struggle. The Oslo Accord stipulates that the issue of Jerusalem, both its eastern and western parts, will be determined in negotiations – not by establishing facts on the ground, as Trump and his partner Netanyahu have done – and that the issues of the borders, refugees, settlements and water are [also] to be negotiated, despite the intentions of [U.S. Ambassador David] Friedman, [Middle East envoy Jason] Greenblatt, and Trump's son-in-law [Jared] Kushner, who are ignorant of the issue of our Palestinian people, which demands its right of self-determination and its right to establish its independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

"Our brother President Abu Mazen, out of his [commitment to] democracy and concern for national unity, clearly insisted, despite Israel's and America's objection, on Hamas's participation in the 2006 elections, in which Hamas won the majority of seats in the Legislative Council. The president respected this result, and therefore charged Isma'il Haniya with forming the government. Unfortunately, however, Hamas did not adhere [to the Oslo Accord], which the PLO had signed as the sole representative of our people, and this led to an international boycott of the [Palestinian] government. Then came the [intra-Palestinian] schism and the unfortunate developments in some Arab countries, as well as regional and international developments, which made the Palestinian situation more difficult and dire.

Enough With The Schism; There Is No Alternative For The Oslo Accords

"These are some points about the Oslo Accord, whose articles some of our brothers in Hamas and other factions have never read. The questions [facing us] now are [the following]: Will a Palestinian revoking of the [Oslo] Accord cause Israel to revoke its recognition of the PLO and lead to the expulsion from the West Bank and Gaza of no less than one million Palestinians who returned to Palestine on the force of this accord? And, if the [accord] is revoked, will we once again have to beg every country to agree to our presence on its soil, instead of fighting the occupation from our own soil and from our land of Palestine, as Hamas and everyone else who grimly insists on canceling the Oslo Accord [seems to] want? Or perhaps there are some people who think that the Gaza Strip, which is under a land, air, and sea blockade, can serve as an alternative to an independent Palestinian state?"

"The far right, which has been ruling Israel since the assassination of [Yitzhak] Rabin, has failed to implement most of the articles of the Oslo [Accord]. It has in fact repeatedly violated them, and is impatiently waiting for us to start revoking some of its articles, or perhaps to revoke it altogether [despite] the absence of  any realistic alternative, as some [among us] demand, so that Israel can complete its plan to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

"We must be honest with ourselves and realize that the Oslo Accord is the only agreement we have... [We are] a patient people, capable of [waging] a peaceful intifada throughout Palestine and civil disobedience that will weaken and paralyze the Israeli economy. This will obviously require many sacrifices, but ultimately the land is ours and justice is on our side. Our right to our land... will be seized only by the strength of our faith, our unity and our patience in the face of our primary enemy, the U.S., and its servant and ally Israel, not by means of fruitless negotiations.

"Perhaps it is time for the Palestinian leadership, headed by our brother, President Mahmoud 'Abbas – whom we esteem and respect for his correct decisions – to immediately call upon the [UN] Security Council... to implement its resolutions and realize the Oslo Accord.

"My statements are addressed to Hamas, [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad and the [other] factions that refuse to realize the actual reality of our sacred cause. Enough with the high-flown speeches that only perpetuate this tragic schism without advancing any realistic alternative. We must not rush to make decisions that will harm our national interest, so as to avoid providing the occupation with an excuse to take countermeasures, such as canceling the Palestinian reality that is based on the Oslo Accord, or other measures that will harm us and set us back even farther than we are today, God help us."



[1] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), October 5, 2019.

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