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On August 13th the Jerusalem Post reported the release of a report on Palestinian incitement, authored by Strategic Affairs Ministry director-general Yossi Kuperwasser. Among other things Kuperwasser wrote:
The bottom line is that Palestinian incitement is “going on all the time,” adding that the phenomenon is “worrying and disturbing.” He said that at an institutional level the Palestinian Authority was continuously driving three messages home: that the Palestinians would eventually be the sole sovereign on all the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea; that Jews, especially those who live in Israel, were not really human beings but rather “the scum of mankind”; and that all tools were legitimate in the struggle against Israel and the Jews, though the specific tool used at one time or another depended on a cost-benefit analysis.
The unceasing phenomenon of Palestinian anti-Israel incitement is prima facie evidence that Oslo is dead.
When international agreements like the Oslo Accords are born it is very difficult for them to go out of existence. In general in the world of international diplomacy, when two countries make a diplomatic agreement it is permanent, like a country’s laws or its constitution. Once the powers that be agree on the small print in the newly codified laws or the country’s venerable constitution these documents are solidified. They remain in existence and remain in force ad infinitum – just like the countries themselves.
When Israel and the Palestinians signed the Declaration of Principles for the Oslo Accords in September 1993, the general assumption then also was that the agreement would be permanent and provide a constellation for bilateral negotiations between the sides that would ultimately lead to a permanent settlement.
In fact a series of twisting, difficult negotiations took place between the sides all through the 1990s and these negotiations also produced viable agreements. It looked like Oslo really was the answer to reaching a permanent settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Oslo 2 Agreement, for example, signed in 1995 turned control over to the Palestinian Authority in the following West Bank cities – Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Tulkarm, and some 450 villages. This agreement is a clear demonstration of Israeli good will and good intentions under Oslo. Oslo’s underlying purpose was to bring about the termination of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and here under Oslo 2 Israel was following the letter of the law.
Then PM Ehud Barak came along and attempted not only to negotiate territorial and political issues with the Palestinian side but go the whole nine yards and reach an end to the whole conflict.
Barak’s dramatic offer to Arafat at Camp David in the summer of 2000 reportedly included the following proposals to achieve an end to the conflict:
• Israeli redeployment from 95% of the West Bank and 100% of the Gaza Strip;
• The creation of a Palestinian state in the areas of Israeli withdrawal;
• The removal of isolated settlements and transfer of the land to Palestinian control;
• Other Israeli land exchanged for West Bank settlements remaining under Israeli control;
• Palestinian control over East Jerusalem, including most of the Old City; and
• “Religious Sovereignty” over the Temple Mount, replacing Israeli sovereignty in effect since 1967.
Arafat for his part simply rejected the offer. Around January 2001 Clinton met with Arafat again in the White House but there were no developments. Except that President Clinton was deeply offended and insulted that Arafat turned down the best offer for a peace settlement anyone would ever offer him. Indeed, inexplicably Arafat and his team said no again to the US-brokered Israeli proposals and they had no proposals of their own to offer.
Of course the immediate Palestinian response following the failure of the Camp David summit was the bloody Second Intifada. The brutal terrorist violence of the Second Intifada lasted through 2004 and took the lives of 1000 innocent Israelis. One shift on the Palestinian side was that Arafat was pressured to surrender a measure of power, and he did so by appointing Abu Mazen as prime minister in 2003.
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