?Oslophiles? like to say that ?the occupation corrupts,? but when I look at our situation today and compare it to pre-Oslo Israel it is clear to me that ?Oslo corrupts.?

Oslo corrupted our respect for human life. Soldiers and civilians alike became no more than pawns in a game of peacemaking under the gun. Today, after sinking up to our noses in the mire of Oslo, with politicians treating brutal murders as temporary, insignificant inconveniences, we find a dramatic increase in murder, violent crime, even violence in the schoolyard.

Oslo corrupted the very top of Israel?s intelligence system. Some allowed their ideology to seriously cloud their judgment, naively thinking that they could sub-contract Israel?s security to Palestinian ?colleagues? whom they wined and dined on open expense accounts. Yet it didn't stop there. Some of these top Israelis entered into a web of business relations with their Palestinian counterparts. Money - the ultimate corrupter. Thus, today our intelligence operations are engaged in a desperate game of catch-up, but we apparently suffer from huge knowledge gaps that are difficult to fill in. We know that the Palestinians poured huge quantities of cement into the ground, but many of these massive underground construction projects took place at the very height of the Rabin-Peres ?yihye b'seder? (?it will be OK?) era.

Oslo corrupted the political system, with it becoming acceptable to make bare-faced lies to the Knesset, as was the case when Shimon Peres denied the existence of his ?Jerusalem Letter?. It wasn't just the lies and the vote buying, which allowed Oslo to gain Knesset ratification. Oslo introduced brazen and open foreign interference in the Israeli democratic process, with money from the European Union and other nations financing various leftist groups in Israel and even some politicians.

Oslo so corrupted respect for the democratic process that the ruling government even went so far as to use the services of the State?s intelligence apparatus to undermine the standing of political rivals and silence them, rather than engage them in serious debate. To this day serious public debate is marred by the efforts to silence voices with charges of incitement and the ?extremist? label.

Yet the ?yihye b'seder? of the early days of Oslo has not been replaced with a more serious long term plan. What is the Israeli planning horizon? A decade? A year? A month? Shimon Peres, Yossi Beilin and Shlomo Ben Ami can only see as far as the next photo-opportunity. None of them seriously addresses the challenges Israel would face the morning after Israel trades security for yet more amorphously written pieces of paper, which will never be honored by the Palestinians any way.

Some Israeli journalists have chipped in efforts to paper over the problems and persuade the Israeli public that ?yihye b'seder?. Witness the coverage of Arafat's mumbling about the right of return to Israeli reporters. Arafat was careful never to say that he would compromise on the ?right of return? to Jaffa, he only said that he didn't think many Palestinians would want to exercise the right. Don't be deceived by talk about preserving the integrity of Israel, there are already pseudo-scientific Palestinian studies designed to prove that there is more than enough room inside Israel to hold many millions of returning Palestinian refugees. Unilateral withdrawal and separation is yet another example of a dangerously limited planning horizon. It is taking cover behind partially built fortifications, as the destructive potential of Fatahland grows unabated and the Palestinian terror cancer that has infected Israeli Arab communities continues to grow unchecked.

We have to look ahead. We have to recognize that the challenge we face today, thanks to Oslo, will be significantly greater and more complicated tomorrow. That a war of attrition is no more than a training program for the Palestinian enemy.

Oslo corrupted our society. Oslo corrupted our democratic system. Oslo corrupted our security. The corruption of Oslo must not be ignored. Recognizing the corruption of Oslo is the first step towards freeing our society from its corrupting influence.

We have to have the courage to act now.


Dr. Aaron Lerner is the Director of IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis) and broadcasts a regular commentary on Arutz Sheva - Israel National Radio, on Thursday nights at 10:00 PM. A recorded version of the IMRA commentary is available on IsraelNationalNews.com.