Arabs and Israelis, right and left, Muslims, Christians and Jews came together Thursday for a conference in Washington on the Oslo Accords. The diverse crowd had one thing in common – all agreed that the Oslo Accords have failed to bring peace, and that an alternative must be found.
Arutz Sheva attended Thursday’s conference, “Oslo 20 Years Later,” which brought together a panel of journalists, policy experts and government officials who are shaping the future of peace in the Middle East, for a candid conversation about the prospects for peace in the Middle East in light of the failed peace process.
Participants in the conference, which was hosted by the International Israel Allies Caucus Foundation (IIACF), included members of Congress, former Knesset member and Oslo architect Yossi Beilin, former Minister of Tourism Rabbi Benny Elon, writer and academic Jordanian expatriate Mudar Zahran, and the Deputy Managing Editor of The Jerusalem Post Caroline Glick. The conference took place on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Other attendees included MK Danny Danon (Likud); David Ha'ivri, Director of the Shomron Liaison Office; Joseph Trad, who runs a program called “Hayovel” (the Jubilee) which brings volunteers from around the world to Judea and Samaria, where they volunteer in agricultural labor to aid local Jewish farmers; Travis Allen, who is running for the California State Assembly; and Eytan Laor, chairman of the American Principles Political Action Committee.
The conference presented three principles to solve the Israeli-Arab conflict: Pursue a humanitarian solution rather than a political one; build peace through a strategic partnership with Jordan rather than with the Palestinian Authority; and apply Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.
Rabbi Elon, who chairs IIACF, told Arutz Sheva after the conference, “We heard Jews and Arabs, from the left and the right, and everyone understands that Oslo has failed. The question is whether we are learning from our past mistakes. We need to draw conclusions.”
He added, “Why do we have to wait for a disaster such as the eviction of the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El to occur, when we could have solved it by applying Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria? It's something we tried to do several years ago. We should come out with a plan and not just a small act here or there. We need a political plan which states that from the Jordan to Gaza there is only one country - Israel.
"There is already a Palestinian state in Jordan. Several years ago we built another state in Gaza, and now we’re giving them another country, closing our eyes and waiting for the Messiah? We need to prepare a realistic policy. The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan can overthrow King Abdullah tomorrow and if that happens, we have once again lost an option and have no one to talk to there. If we send the message to the citizens of Israel and the world that Jordan is Palestine, we’ll avert many disasters.”
Asked whether he was surprised by the warm embrace he received from the American public, Elon said, “I was not surprised. We have even more sympathy on the American street than we do in Congress. There are millions here who are with us and who even consider me as being too leftist. They believe in the Bible and cannot stand the fact that the people of Israel cannot live in their own country.”
He summed up the conference by saying, “Oslo is a failure. I hope that my plan, which is based on Jordan, is more relevant than ever and we have to try to implement it before we lose the opportunity.”
MK Danon told Arutz Sheva, “We have to say it very clearly: Oslo is finished. It’s dead. We need to think about an alternative to the two-state solution, and I believe we should apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. We should not be afraid.”