Op-Ed: Recalling Ron Pundak's Impact on the Oslo Accords
Lee Kaplan, Head of Stop the ISMThe writer heads Stop the ISM. He is an investigative journalist and contributor...
The recent passing of NGO activist and administrator Ron Pundak probably didn’t register much with most Israelis, who may have had no idea who the man was anymore, although his name at one time appeared frequently in the media.
Pundak was the top administrator at the Peres Center for Peace, the NGO set up by Shimon Peres to promote “peace” between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. As we know today, Peres’ efforts led to the deaths of thousands of Israelis through terrorism attacks and two intifadas.
Pundak was involved with Peres in meeting illegally with the PLO in Oslo to negotiate what became known as the Oslo Accords. Pundak’s bio lists him as an historian who after studying in London became involved with research at Hebrew University. This helped lead to his participation in the secret Oslo negotiations - behind the back of Israel's then Prime Minister Yitschak Rabin - and the later, equally damaging, Geneva Accords.
Pundak, as the administrative head of the Peres Center, no doubt received the position as a reward for his loyalty to Shimon Peres. Israel should have prosecuted Peres and Pundak for violating Israeli law by negotiating secretly with the PLO back in 1993. However, the Israeli government did not enforce that law, resulting in a trail of dead Jews—and Palestinian Arabs.
There is another sanguine result of Oslo: the latest insanity of releasing thousands of murders of Israelis from their prison sentences to the terrorists in the PA only to get the Arabs to the “negotiating” table began with the Oslo crowd of Peres, Pundak et. al. back in 1993.
It is safe to say that few Israelis know that the Peres Center received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Egyptian government, meaning it was funded by Arabs as well as the EU (especially Norway). Even fewer may know that at one time Peres owned millions of dollars of stock in the Palestinian phone company. And heading an NGO that gets money from the EU and the Arabs must have been lucrative. The head of Norway’s government, who brokered the Oslo Accords, received $50,000 through the Peres Center under Pundak’s administration.
Pundak, when Oslo began, promoted peace between Arabs and Israelis, but eventually served simply as a mouthpiece for the Palestinian Arabs.
Shimon Peres eulogized Pundak by saying he was "warrior for peace," who "dedicated his entire adult life to the fight for peace between us and our neighbors. He was a passionate man for whom peace burned like an eternal flame... It is hard to describe our talks with the Palestinians without mentioning his contribution. Even when the situation seemed desperate, Pundak never gave up.”
Peres has stated he thinks of every Israeli murdered by Arab irredentists as soldiers in the war for ultimate peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And Peres would fight to the last drop of another Jew’s blood to achieve this.
Ron Pundak conducted himself the same way and said only a few months ago that “"Shiloh and Beit El are more important than Tel Aviv and Ramat Aviv in the question between a state for the Jews or the land of Israel, we need to know how to make painful compromises to keep the state of the Jewish people,", calling for the uprooting of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria for ‘Israel's interests’”.
He romanticized the Disengagement as a good thing for Israel too: "In light of the fact that we live in a practical reality - the occupation of the West Bank will destroy the Israeli state. With all the pain over the exit from Gaza it was an Israeli interest, and so too the exit from the West Bank is an Israeli interest only and not an Arab one."
(In other words: Let’s have those Hamas rockets in our own self-interest hitting Tel Aviv and Jaffa. The thousands that landed on southern Israel are only half the job.)
To those who distrust PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Pundak declared Abbas was in fact "one of the most honest people in the world." He continued, "Abbas is straight as a ruler. I know him better than most Israelis."
Those last sentences may be true. In fact, in one sense, Pundak might have been right. Abbas is honest, he makes no attempt to hide the fact that he wants to murder Jews and wipe Israel off the map - in stages.
As for Marwan Barghouti, Pundak called him “a true partner for peace” back in 2007, when the terror leader had killed only 30 Israelis up to that date. He never retracted that description when the number of dead Israelis killed by Bargouti exceeded 100 people after the Second Intifada.
Meanwhile, eulogies praising Pundak and mourning his death as a loss to the Jewish state can be read in Ha’aretz and in most of the Israeli press. The role he played in leading to the deaths of so many Israelis since 1993 is all but forgotten.