Thursday, September 28, 2023

Israel's Ongoing Oslo Accords Folly

In The Oslo Accords Began Israel’s Folly With the Palestinians (September 19, 2023 The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed; subscription required), Israeli Brigadier General Amir Avivi describes in detail how disastrous the 1993 Oslo Accords have been for Israel. He begins by referencing historian Barbara Tuchman's definition of folly in her 1984 book The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam:

Tuchman defines folly as the pursuit by government of policies contrary to its own interests, whose adverse effects are apparent in real time, with the availability of feasible alternatives. The perpetrators are a group, not a single ruler, whose leadership spans longer than a generation. Israel's implementation of the Oslo Accords, which were signed 30 years ago this month, meets all her criteria.

For reasons that I will explain below, I disagree with Avivi's contention that the very notion of creating Palestinian autonomy is not folly, but I agree with him that--to the extent that any potential path for peace in the Land of Israel exists--the most logical course for Israel is direct negotiation with her Arab neighbors. As Avivi noted, Israel could have dealt directly with local Arab leaders in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza instead of reviving the fortunes of the PLO and its leader Yasser Arafat. Israel's failure to deal directly with local Arab leaders stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of the basic historical facts combined with a refusal to recognize that the PLO, the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas are not entities focused on Palestinian rights or Palestinian liberation; the PLO, the PA, and Hamas are focused on destroying Israel, and on killing as many Jews as possible as a means to achieving Israel's destruction. The popular slogan "Free Palestine" actually means "Destroy Israel, expel (or kill) all of the Jews, and create yet another Arab/Muslim dictatorship in the Mideast."

It is often asserted that what is variously referred to as the "Mideast Conflict" or the "Arab-Israeli Conflict" is difficult to understand. It may be difficult to resolve--for a variety of reasons--but the basic facts are easy to understand, as I noted in The New York Times Minimizes the Jewish People's Ancient Connection to the Land of Israel:

It is not difficult to find accurate historical information about Judea, Samaria, the pre-modern Land of Israel, and related topics--but such information runs counter to the "greater good" of destroying Israel to create yet another Arab state in the Mideast, so such information is generally ignored by most media outlets.

Here are a few articles worth reading:

Pre-State Israel: Jewish Claim To The Land Of Israel

What Are the Jewish Ties to the Land Where Israel and the Palestinian Territories Currently Exist? 

A Brief History of Israel and the Jewish People

It is interesting that Israel's enemies dismiss any historically accurate material that mentions Jewish ties to the Land of Israel because they claim that such material is from biased sources, yet they accept on faith material from obviously biased sources that provide no evidence for ahistorical antisemitic and anti-Zionist claims. Here are a few questions to ponder when trying to evaluate source materials and claims:

1) When someone asserts or implies that "Palestine" was ever an independent Arab/Muslim country--as opposed to a geographical region occupied by various empires since the Roman Empire destroyed Judea--ask that person when exactly did that country independently exist, what were that country's borders, and when/how did that country cease to exist?

2) If such a country ever existed, why are there no credible historical documents or maps referencing an independent country named "Palestine?" One useful way to understand this is to think about the difference between correctly saying that there is a geographical region within America called the Midwest, and incorrectly saying that there was/is an independent nation state called the Midwest.

3) It is often asserted that Zionists "stole" Palestine and colonized it, with comparisons made to how Americans drove Indian tribes off of tribal land--but maps exist showing when/where various Indian tribal nations existed. When/where did Palestine exist as an independent nation?

Once you understand that there is no such thing as a separate Palestinian Arab nation, then you realize (1) the creation of this fictional national identity was meant to delegitimize and destroy Zionism, (2) the solution to the Palestinian Arab refugee crisis involves the affected people (a) accepting Israeli citizenship or (b) relocating to any Arab/Muslim state that will take in people who decline to be Israeli citizens. The notion that a viable Arab state can or should be carved out of Israeli territory not only lacks legal or historical justification but plainly will not work given the realities on the ground (i.e., the PLO, Hamas, and the nation states that sponsor them are not in the business of solving refugee crises but rather they are in the business of killing Jews and attempting to annihilate Israel).

Successful Mideast policies must be based on understanding and accepting the above historical facts, which is why the notion of Palestinian autonomy is folly (contra Avivi's assertion). The problem is not just that Israel made a disastrous decision to sign the Oslo Accords but rather that any attempt to resolve the "Mideast Conflict" that is not based on understanding and accepting historical facts is doomed to fail. Too many people either deny the historical facts or are afraid to state those facts and base policy decisions on those facts. For example, once one understands that Jordan is an Arab state carved out of the majority of the geographical entity Palestine one also understands that a Palestinian Arab state already exists. Thus, Arabs living in Israel, Judea, Samaria, or Gaza can choose to (1) live peacefully under Israeli rule or (2) live under Arab rule in Jordan (or any of the more than two dozen Arab states in the Mideast--or in Iran, which is not an Arab state but is a Muslim state). 

The core unresolved issue is not "land for peace" nor is it autonomy; it is the unrelenting quest to destroy Israel that is fomented by various Arab/Islamic states and the terrorist groups (including the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, and others) that they sponsor. There is zero chance that Israel giving up land will resolve that issue, and the Oslo Accords are just one example of the folly of assuming otherwise.

Many leftists falsely accuse Israel of war crimes and of intentionally harming Arab civilians, but the real war crime--or, to be precise, the real treason--committed by Israel's government in the past three decades is signing the Oslo Accords, which directly led to the slaughter of more than 1300 Israeli civilians. As long as that treason goes unrecognized and unpunished, there will be no justice and no peace in the Land of Israel, because justice and peace cannot be built on a foundation of falsehood and terror. The PLO has publicly stated "Our war is with the Jews," and Arab/Muslim terrorists often chant, "We love death more than you love life." Such a war conducted by people who fervently embrace a death-loving culture will not be resolved by Israel giving up land; indeed, if Israel disappeared, the war against the Jews--and against Western, democratic civilization--would not only continue: it would intensify, fueled by the "triumph" of destroying the "Little Satan" (Israel) and giddy about the possibility of destroying the "Great Satan" (America).

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