The 1990’s were the halcyon days when false beliefs prevailed in so-called Oslo Accord negotiations. U.S. President Bill Clinton actually asked Yitzchak Rabin and Yasser Arafat to shake hands in the Rose Garden in front of the White House in 1993.
This schoolboy exercise was in keeping with the Rodney King expostulation after the Los Angeles riots when he said, “Why can’t we just get along.” That was in 1992. It was a throwback to the cumbaya mindset of the 1960’s which Louis Farrakhan – rightly I think – in the USA liked to ridicule whereby civil rights workers would join hands and sway back and forth singing cumbaya as a symbol of racial unity.
Yes, while this sentimentality at least had a shred of realism in the USA, introducing it into Israel vs. PLO terrorist negotiations was really the height of folly by Bill Clinton. Yet the American man-on-the-street smarmy psyche was pleased to see this. To treat the conflict between Israel and its terrorist residents as a Rodney King moment or an opportunity was to make light of the survival of the Jewish people and make light of the evil machinations of the PLO. They had been kicked out of Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Libya at various times by their fellow Arabs, but here Clinton equated Israel and the PLO, calling both "vessels of honor” because they were signing an agreement under American auspices.
This writer, also in the 1990’s, sadly bought into the false narrative being brought forward by my government and by the overtures between Israel and the PLO that began at Oslo in Norway. Now I know what I ask you to keep in mind, dear readers, that today's Norway is a bastion of the most offensive progressivism of our time. It is a country where mass murderers are not executed nor are they even in a maximum security prison as is Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, who sent letter bombs to various executives over a 17 year period, or Ramzi Yousef, who detonated a massive explosion at the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City in 1993 as the first strike against the WTC - which ended in the decimation of the WTC in 2001. In the US, these maniacs are only allowed outside of their concrete and steel mountainside abode in Colorado one hour a day for fresh air and exercise.
Oslo is the capital of Norway, and Norway is the sina qua non of false progressive values where failure to affirm justice – the kind where the punishment fits the crime – leads it to pride itself on its “mercy.” The leading mass murderer in Norway, who killed 77 people, mostly teens, enjoys the following amenities: He has a three-cell complex where he can play video games, watch TV and exercise, in compensation for his solitary confinement. He is served coffee and newspapers, often plays video games on the Xbox console, watches movies and spends much time studying.
Mercy requires some mitigating circumstances, not merely the attempt of a government or a people to appear benign. In neither Judaism nor Christianity does the mercy of God mean that the punishment shall not fit the crime. Yet, in Norway, so-called mercy has replaced justice. Thus, the Oslo Accords came out of a place of false values.
The two-state so-called solution hooked many who did not realize the nature of Israel’s conflict with its Arab neighbors nor the murderous mindset of the PLO, that which existed then, and which today still exists. We did not realize that good will is not the product of negotiations, nor does the existence of negotiations per se mean the presence of good will.
First, the Islamic idea of taqiyya means that deception by the Islamist in conversations between the Islamic believer and the infidel unbeliever is totally legitimate, That concept is in the mindset of tens of millions Muslims, I believe, who are not jihadis. When I was a high school teacher years ago, a Muslim security guard and I were having a conversation, and he denounced in feverish tones the immorality of American society. I appreciated his sincerity and couldn’t disagree with him, but I would still rather live in the USA than live in his birthplace, Pakistan, because no one is forcing me to be immoral here, and I have untold blessings because my grandparents – Russian/Ukrainian Jews – made great sacrifices in coming to the USA so that my parents and I could enjoy freedom and rights which were nil in the area of Kiev. That security guard was at least being open about his observations and convictions and not trying to put on a face of total contentment to placate and deceive as is commonplace in the Muslim world.
Second, being willing to engage in conversations or even negotiations with someone who has announced their desire to wipe you off the face of the Earth is not a sign of reasonableness or good will. It is an act of self-immolation. It is a type of Freudian psychic castration. Did the Israelites negotiate with the Canaanites when they arrived at their promised land destination? And what did Jeremiah have to say about the endless attempts of Judah/Benjamin to negotiate with and/or alternately bribe Egypt and Babylonia to leave them alone? He said “Peace peace when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14) This great sentence reverberates throughout all of history, not only to the Jewish people but to the whole world pointing to the reality that Almighty God Creator of Heaven and Earth holds and alone holds the key to a peoples’ destiny which of course includes their survival.
Is it because the Jewish people are great negotiators that they have survived the genocidal attacks and massacres for thousands of years? Obviously not. Yet false values and personal hubris continues to creep into leadership positions. Despite the best laid governmental plans and diplomatic and financial moves, Babylonia took our people captive and destroyed the First Temple built by Solomon. In crisis mode we must be resolved to fight to the last breath or until defeat overtakes us and we are enslaved or worse.
Former President, Donald J. Trump, broke the two-state logjam that had afflicted the Middle East since the Yom Kippur War in the early 1970’s. Current President Biden is talking about restoring it.
The USA and the whole world saw what happened in Gaza in 2005 when Israel took a major step in implementing the two-state Oslo agreement. At that time, one of Israel’s once great modern heroes, Ariel Sharon, agreed to forcibly move Israelis out of Gaza and allow a takeover of the government and land of Gaza by the Palestinian Arabs. Like many of us, he was also living in denial of the reality of the enmity Israel faces every day and of the emptiness of any supposed two-state solution. Gaza became a Jew-free zone voluntarily. Simply recording this fact in this article is repulsive to this writer, yet the dramatic reality of that event has helped us see that land for peace, that two-state negotiations in an attempt to appease local Arab consciousness, and that the Bill Clinton aspirations are all phony themes.
The “good Arab people” [sic] of Gaza promptly elected Hamas as their government. Beautiful greenhouses bought by Mort Zuckerman, editor of New York’s Daily News, as a goodwill gift to the newly ensconced Arab controllers of Gaza, were quickly destroyed by the Hamas homicidal maniacs. It was so obvious from that point on that the two-state solution, so-called, entered into to secure peace and security for both Israelis and Arabs was a non-starter.
Tunnels began being built from Gaza to Israel to aid in the murder of Israelis and missiles began being bought through terrorist channels operating throughout the Middle East, missiles that would be used to terrorize and kill Israeli Jewish citizens. The scenario we have been watching is like a replay of the warring that afflicted the Israelites after they entered the Promised Land when they returned from Egypt after their 400-year bondage.
Pres. Trump broke the logjam of the two-state fiasco. U.S. law passed in 1995 allowed for the movement of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem with the rider that our Presidents could stop that move on a discretionary basis. Before Trump decided to allow the move, Clinton, Bush, and Obama had all nixed the movement to Jerusalem. Trump allowed the move and the "Palestinian" Consulate was moved into that structure. Despite fears that this would cause violence throughout the Arab world, the move did not.
Further, he declared the Golan Heights to be a recognized part of Israel. Also, Trump worked on developing a network of deals whereby working political and economic relationships were restored between Israel and many nearby Arab countries. These were monumental breakthroughs. Yet, the hideously fixated Democrats are still pressing to restore Oslo as the centerpiece of Israeli negotiations with the Arabs within Judaea and Samaria. The evil leadership of Gaza and the evil people living there who installed that leadership are too often spoken about as though they are victims.
This writer recently read a book by Samuel Katz who provides evidence that many of the so-called Palestinian Arab refugees arrived well after the displacements of 1948. Some of the signs carried by pro-Arab protestors in the USA even talk about Israeli genocidal goals regarding the Arabs of Gaza, Judaea, and Samaria. It is repulsive to the Nth degree to see these lying accusations on posters and coming out of the mouths of insane Jew haters and detractors, and some of those protestors are Jewish.
Forget about these ugly naysayers. Continue to believe that Almighty God is author of the transcendent restoration of the State of Israel, and know that a two state solution is unworkable and, more importantly, illegitimate as a concept. The immature handshake during the Clinton Administration was itself repudiated in a certain way by Dennis Ross, Pres. Clinton’s chief negotiator as they tried to move two-state negotiations forward.
This writer saw Ross being interviewed by Charlie Rose a few years ago, and Dennis Ross said he knew negotiations were down the drain when, two days before the settlement was to be signed, Arafat’s representatives called him and said they were ready to sign but believed a few last minute changes needed to be made. Ross asked, “How many changes,” and the reply was “49.” At that moment Ross knew that the agreement had again been sabotaged by Arafat. And, as we know the Second Intifada of stone throwing and murderous mayhem began in Israel shortly thereafter.
We must move forward unashamedly against and past this obsessive Oslo-Rodney King-ism from the 1990’s into a new and more firmly established era of Israeli sovereignty. The shalom of Israel, the Arab states, and, in fact, the entire world depends upon it.
Jeffrey Ludwig is a Harvard University Master Teacher who has taught at Harvard, Penn State, Juniata, and Boston State College as well as written numerous articles and poems. He has recently published a memoir about his childhood in Philadelphia.