The Oslo Accords: A gigantic disaster for the Palestinians ~ by Khalid Amayreh

[ PIC 15/09/2013 – 04:42 PM ]


By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine

A few days ago, I asked a Palestinian lawyer from my hometown, Dura, if it was possible for me to file a suit case against “The State of Israel” in a Palestinian court.

On 25 February, 1953, Israeli troops murdered virtually my entire family, including my three paternal uncles as well as three other relatives. In addition to the cold-blooded murder, the Israeli army then seized our entire property upon which our life depended to a large extent, including 250-300 sheep, condemning my family to live in a state of abject property for more than thirty years. No apology or mea Culpa or acknowledgment of guilt or responsibility has ever been made by the State of Israel.

The Lawyer, Muhammed Rabai’ stared at me, saying: “Mr. Amayreh, it seems your knowledge in matters of law is modest. The Oslo Accords gave Israel all the assets and gave us all the liabilities.”

He went on: “You have to make a clear distinction between law and justice. Even if Israeli soldiers or terrorists or settlers murdered your entire family, you still wouldn’t have the right to sue Israel in a Palestinian court.”

As a defensive reflex, I asked the esteemed lawyer why was it that any Israeli Jew or non-Israeli Jew could sue any Palestinian or Arab entity in an Israeli court without any problem.

“Where is the principle of parity and equality?,” I protested.

Eventually, Rabai’, gave me a lecture on the legalistic dimensions of the Oslo Accords.

Then he said, with frustration detected in the tone of his speech: “The strong is shameless.”

This story is one of thousands of other similar or graver stories encapsulating the utter injustice and inequity inflicted on the Palestinian people and their just national cause as a result of the scandalous accords known as the Oslo Agreement.

I remember that a few days after the conclusion of the infamous agreement, I wrote an Arabic article, describing the agreement as “a body with numerous deformities and defects, however you look at it, you will be offended and affronted.”

I also remember I asked the late Faisal Husseini how the PLO was gullible enough to accept such a scandalously oblique deal?

Husseini knew the agreement was thoroughly deformed from its head to its tail. He probably knew more than I did about the scandalous aspects of the Accords which the Palestinian leadership and also Israel wanted to keep secret. But his mouth was muzzled for political reasons and he couldn’t say all he knew about the agreement and the circumstances leading up to its acceptance by the PLO leadership.

Eventually, Husseini said this: True, the baby is deformed …but it is our child.”

I also asked a number of PLO leaders who were visiting al-Khalil a few months after the Oslo accords were reached why the PLO leadership recognized Israel without receiving a reciprocal Israeli recognition or without even having Israel saying where its borders lie.

To my chagrin, I only received the following laconic answer to all my questions: “Yes I agree with you… that was a mistake that we unfortunately made.”

Twenty long years have now passed since the conclusion of the hapless agreement. And there is an absolute consensus among Palestinians, regardless of their political orientation, that the agreement was a disaster for the Palestinian people and their national cause.

The PLO and its mostly mendacious media outlets and other mouth-pieces sought to give the impression that the agreement would lead to the establishment of a viable and territorially contiguous state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with Jerusalem as its capital.

The mantra was invoked by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat rather ad nauseam that many Palestinians began to ridicule Arafat for his rhetorical overindulgence and for his utter unrealism.

Arafat didn’t always make a meticulous distinction between reality and fantasy. On several occasions, he declared Palestinian towns he visited in the 1990s “liberated, liberated, liberated” even though Israeli occupation soldiers were manning roadblocks and checkpoints a few blocks away from where Arafat was speaking.

Vague agreement

There is no doubt that the Oslo Accords were a vague agreement par excellence. The PLO viewed the accords as an initial stage toward ending the Israeli occupation and achieving independence and statehood.

The Israelis, for their part, viewed the agreement as an arrangement that would allow Israel to maintain control of the West Bank without paying a costly political and economic price.

But in this case, it is only the strong party that enforces its interpretation of the vague agreement. Needless to say, this is exactly what Israel did and has been doing.

Indeed, Israel has maintained effective control over every nook and cranny in the West Bank. It retained a carte blanche to arrest any Palestinian, from an ordinary individual to the highest ranking elected political official. This happened while much of the world kept thinking that the Palestinians were finally free of Israeli occupation and domination.

The current Palestinian leadership, though less captivated by the empty rhetoric that generally characterized Arafat’s discourse, is yet to free itself completely from the historical Palestinian leader’s legacy and style of thinking.

For example, the “Palestinian Authority” (PA) sees nothing embarrassing or objectionable in referring to itself as “the state of Palestine” when the PA entity is lacking almost everything that would make a state look like a state, including recognized borders, freedom from foreign occupation, sovereignty, and free, unfettered economy.

As to the PA itself, it is no more than a pathetic police state without a state, an entity that keeps itself afloat thanks to handouts and politically-motivated “aid” from the United States, Israel’s guardian ally, and the European Union.

In fact, the crippling financial crisis that initially made the PLO accept the scandalous Oslo Accords in 1993 is now forcing the present Palestinian leadership to sit down in futile talks with Israel despite the aggressive continuation of Jewish settlement activities all over the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem.

A few months ago, Ahmed Qurei’, who negotiated the Oslo Agreement on behalf of the PLO, was quoted as saying that 20 years of peace negotiations with Israel yielded a very fat Zero.

In light, one is prompted to ask if the PLO-PA leadership has learned any lessons from the Oslo fiasco and whether it would repeat the 20-year experiment!

20 Years Olso Accords – Resources

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Related News on the topic of Oslo Accords

  • Infographic: Twenty years of Oslo ~  by Ben White, Al Jazeera
  • Sept 12, 2013 | Hamas calls for a national coalition against fruitless negotiations – PIC
  • Sept 13, 2013 | 20 years after Oslo, statistics show greater occupation and oppression – MEMO
  • Sept 13, 2013 | Survival of Oslo Agreement is a major threat to Palestinian Cause: Ministry of Culture – Al Ray
  • Sept 13, 2013 | Oslo, a view from the ground – 972 Magazine
  • Sept 13, 2013 | The failure of Oslo the result of bad faith – MEMO
  • Sept 13, 2013 | The festering legacy of Oslo: Jerusalem as ‘indivisible’ as ever – 972 Magazine
  • Sept 13, 2013 | 1993-2013: the destruction of hope- Jews for Justice for Palestinians
  • Sept 14, 2013 | Oxfam: 20 years of missed opportunity since Oslo Accords – Al Ray
  • Sept 14, 2013 | Michel Warschawski: 20 years after #Oslo – why did it fail? – AIC
  • Sept 15, 2013 | Two Decades After Oslo: The Agreement That Uprooted Palestine – Deliberation

Related: Israel. Not looking for Peace. Nor Talks. But this… ~ The Facts

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