As part of a two-hour rant on Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared that the Oslo Accords signed with Israel almost 25 years ago were now dead. That was a false statement because those accords were dead before the ink of Yasser Arafat’s signature was dry.
That famous handshake on Sept. 13, 1993: When I close my eyes, I can still see Arafat, a supposedly reformed terrorist, grasping the palm of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. I remember saying the Shehechayanu prayer, thanking G-d for keeping me alive and letting me see this glorious day. The whole world was full of optimism. Even President Clinton’s secretary of state, the usually dour Warren Christopher, stepped up to the microphone to gloat, saying that the impossible was now possible.
On that day, supporters of Israel let themselves believe that 45 years of attacks against the Jewish state were over, that peace was finally within arm’s reach.
As part of Oslo, the two sides signed Letters of Mutual Recognition. The Israeli government recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The PLO was required to amend the Palestinian National Charter (PNC) to recognize Israel’s right to exist to and renounce violence. But this was never done, and the original Charter stands to this day.
Twenty-five years after Oslo, Article 19 of the PNC still states that “the establishment of Israel is fundamentally null and void.” Article 20 continues to deny the existence of the Jewish people as a nation and any ties that it might have to the land of Israel; it continues to reject the original partition plan (U.N. Resolution 181 that calls for the creation of Jewish and an Arab states).
Despite Oslo, the PNC’s Article 22 still asserts that Zionism is “fascist” and “the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will contribute to the establishment of peace in the Middle East.” And Article 9 still calls for violence: “Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.”
The Oslo accords called for the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza to rule themselves, thus the Egyptian-born terrorist Arafat was allowed to travel to the disputed territories with the purpose of organizing a government and leading them to peace. Yet on the very day he signed the Oslo accords, Arafat went on Jordanian television (which at the time was the only TV seen in the disputed territories) and explained the accords as a phase in the implementation of the PLO’s 1974 plan for the phased destruction of Israel.
Oslo didn’t stop terrorism. In the two years between the signing of Oslo and the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin, there were 10 Palestinian terrorist attacks killing 75 Israelis and wounding another 242.
The crazed zealot who killed the prime minister did so because he hated the Oslo Accords but by killing Rabin he may have saved it. In 2010, Rabin’s daughter Dalia was interviewed by the Seven Days magazine supplement of the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot and revealed: “Many people who were close to father told me that on the eve of the murder he considered stopping the Oslo process because of the terror that was running rampant in the streets and that Arafat wasn’t delivering the goods.
“Father after all wasn’t a blind man running forward without thought. I don’t rule out the possibility that he considered also doing a reverse on our side. After all, he was someone for whom the security of the state was sacrosanct.”
According to figures from the Jewish Virtual Library, in the quarter of a century since Oslo terrorism never stopped. From the signing of the accords in September 1993 until September 2000, nearly 300 innocents were killed in attacks. During the second intifada (September 2000 to December 2005) 1,100 were murdered. And since December 2005, Palestinian terrorist attacks have claimed at least another 223 Israeli lives.
Twice since the signing ceremony in 1993, Israel offered the Palestinians a peace giving them almost everything they wanted, and each time the Palestinians refused. After Arafat walked away from a deal in 2000, President Clinton said, “I regret that in 2000 Arafat missed the opportunity to bring that nation into being and pray for the day when the dreams of the Palestinian people for a state and a better life will be realized in a just and lasting peace.”
Eight years later, when Prime Minister Olmert offered PA President Abbas another deal favorable to the Palestinians, Abbas said no.
The Palestinians are still using their foreign aid to pay blood money to terrorists and their families. They still honor terrorists as national heroes naming buildings and stadiums in their memory. In 2006, they had a gala celebrating the 11,000th Israeli killed. Despite the accords the Palestinian leadership never stopped calling for violence against innocent Israelis. They still deny the Jewish connection to the Holy Land, and even deny Jewish, Christian and Muslim theology by saying there were never Jewish Temples on top of the Temple Mount.
“The Official 1925 Supreme Moslem Council (Wakf) Guide Book To Al-Ḥaram Al-Sarif” recognized the presence of the Jewish Temples atop the Mount. Paragraph two on page four says, “It’s [the Temple Mount] identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute.” Now, 93 years later they are saying the Wakf was wrong.
In a two-hour speech this past weekend, Abbas called President Trump’s peace plan “a slap in the face” that “we will slap back.”
He claimed the Jews had no right to the land — that the Europeans “wanted to bring the Jews here [to the land of Israel] from Europe in order to protect European interests in the region. They asked the Netherlands, which then had the largest navy in the world, to relocate the Jews.” He even quoted an Egyptian writer who claimed that “Israel is a colonial project with no connection whatsoever to the Jews.”
Abbas added that “today is the day that the Oslo Accords end. Israel killed them. We are an authority without any authority, and an occupation without any cost. Trump threatens to cut funding to the authority because negotiations have failed. When the hell did negotiations start?”
Sorry, Mr. Supposedly Reformed Terrorist, but when did the Oslo Accords start? When did the PLO change its charter to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist? When did the Palestinian leadership stop inciting its people to kill Israelis? When did they stop claiming the Jews had no connection to the land? When did they stop walking away from peace proposals favorable to their positions?
The truth is that the Oslo accords made the words of Ze’ev Jabotinsky ring truer than ever: “It is incredible what political simpletons Jews are. They shut their eyes to one of the most elementary rules of life, that you must not ‘meet halfway’ those who do not want to meet you.