In 1993, the Oslo Accords were signed by Arafat of the P.L.O. and Prime Minister Rabin of Israel at the White House, supposedly to allow for the development and growth of mutual trust and respect – leading to the establishment of a Palestinian State.
The event was widely hailed as a harbinger of the long-sought peace. Friends of Israel, willing to place hope before experience, indulged in a paroxysm of joy and optimism. But other friends of Israel, mindful of the underlying realities of the Arab-Israel conflict and the problematic details of the accord, were not bemused by the euphoria of the time. One observer described the event as marking “The Delusion of a People Under Siege”. 1
(Arafat himself soon confirmed the delusion. Speaking to his own people he reaffirmed the P.L.O. commitment to the “Strategy of Stages” for Israel’s destruction, and equated the Oslo Accords with Mohammed’s Treaty of Hudabya with the Koreish tribe, which the Prophet maintained for two years – until his forces grew strong enough to crush the Koreish.)
The Israeli government, driven by its intense desire for peace, and trusting that Arafat would honor his commitment to eliminate Palestinian terrorism and anti-Israel hate indoctrination, placed significant territory under P.L.O. control and without consideration of vital security issues gave arms to it’s “Police”.
However, rather than moderating the Palestinians (PLO and Hamas alike), the Oslo Accords produced an unprecedented level of hate-education, resulting in a vast wave of anti-Israeli Palestinian terrorism, a gross violation of Palestinian commitments made to Israel and to the U.S.
Oslo might have led to a Palestinian state in a “Two-State Solution”, but Arafat rejected that option. Instead, he launched the first bloody “Intifada” and intensified vitriolic anti-Israel hate indoctrination in programs that continue to this day. The “Hate Jews and Israel” mantra, heard every day in their Mosques and media, resonates powerfully among the Palestinian Arabs, unwitting recipients of gross historical revisionism. It is especially aimed at the young, even in programs designed for early school age children.
In 2000, with no regard for this very dismal experience, President Clinton, joined by Ehud Barak, then Israel’s Prime Minister, offered to Arafat and the Palestinian Arabs a sovereign state with 97% of the West Bank and Gaza, its capital in East Jerusalem and large sums of money in compensation to Palestinian refugees. Arafat again rejected a “Two State Solution” and responded with the “Second Intifada”, including the bloodiest sustained terrorist attacks in Israel’s history that also devastated the economy of the corrupt, repressive P.L.A. regime.
Nevertheless, international politicos, lead by the Obama administration, still focus almost exclusively on a “Two-State Solution”. They ignore the fact that over a period of more than seven decades at least five distinct international diplomatic initiatives for such a “solution” could have created a Palestinian state. But Arafat would not accept the concept of two states, Arab and Jewish, permanently “living side-by-side in peace”. His goal was never peace with Israel, but its destruction and a single Arab Muslim state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
1 See: The Oslo Syndrome, Dr. Kenneth Levin, Smith and Kraus, 2005.
*Dr. Arnold M. Soloway, President Emeritus and Founder of the Center for Near East Policy Research, earned a Doctorate degree in Economics at Harvard University in 1952, taught on its faculty until 1960, and was elected Chairman of the Graduate Society Council in 1982. Following his 1952 analysis of Boston’s financial problems, he was asked to and did serve on the Mayor’s Committee on Boston’s Finances from 1953-1957. From 1961-62 he served as Special Advisor on Fiscal Affairs to Governor John A. Volpe. From 1964-1966 he was Special Consultant to the (U.S.) Economic Development Administration. From 1974-1979 he was Director-at-Large, National Bureau of Economic Research. In 1978-79 he served as Chairman, Mayor’s Special Commission on Boston Public Housing. He was principal author of Truth and Peace in the Middle East, Friendly House, New York, 1971 and The Role of Arab Political Culture and History in the Conflict with Israel, Center for Near East Policy Research, April 1985.