The Trouble With Oslo
The Trouble With Oslo

Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas’s bombshell speech to the United Nations General Assembly proved to be a dud. He repeated the same old lies about Israel’s alleged default on the Oslo Accords and merely threatened to abandon the agreements.

"So long as Israel refuses to commit to the agreements signed with us, cease settlement construction and release prisoners, Israel has left us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to these agreements.

"The state of Palestine, based on the 4th of June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, is a state under occupation, as was the case for many countries during World War II.

"It is no longer useful to waste time in negotiations for the sake of negotiations; what is required is to mobilize international efforts to oversee an end to the occupation in line with the resolutions of international legitimacy,” he said. “Until then, I call upon the United Nations to provide international protection for the Palestinian people in accordance with international humanitarian law.

"We do not respond to the Israeli occupation’s hatred and brutality with the same... Instead, we are working on spreading the culture of peace and coexistence between our people and in our region, and we are anxious to realize it and to witness the day when all of the people in our region will enjoy peace, security, stability and prosperity."

One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry - or yawn. Abbas spoke not a word of truth.

An unbiased view of the Accords and the adherence to them will support the conclusion that Israel is in full compliance but the PA isn’t.  For that matter neither is the E.U. or the U.N. nor the U.S. abiding by the Accords

The Oslo Accords consists of two agreements. The first, known as The Declaration of Principles, was signed in 1993, by Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Among other things, it identified final status issues to be negotiated after the interim period.

“It was understood"  that several issues were postponed to permanent status negotiations, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and co-operation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest.

It should be noted that none of these final status issues were prejudged nor was the outcome permitted to be “prejudiced or preempted” by the parties.

While building settlements was not specifically proscribed, the PA argues that settlements “prejudice or preempt” the outcome.  Israel argues to the contrary that they don’t, because the settlements can always be removed or will remain part of Israel when final borders are agreed upon. To preclude construction would be to preempt or prejudge the outcome.  The PA, EU and UN also argue that settlements are illegal according to the Fourth Geneva Convention. The US says they are illegitimate rather than illegal.  Israel says they are neither.

In addition, the PA is doing its utmost to prejudice or preempt the outcome by appealing to the UN and the world community to grant it a state on the ’67 lines with Jerusalem as their capital. They do this in gross violation of these accords, anything to avoid negotiating.

The second agreement signed in 1995 is known as the Interim Agreement. It provided for the division of powers between the parties just like a constitution. The land was divided in three areas A, B and C. The PA was given full authority over A and B, where 95% of the Arab population lives, save for the fact that security in B remained in Israel’s hands. Israel retained full authority over and in C with 4% of the Palestinian Arabs.

It began with the following recitals:

RECOGNIZING that the aim of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the current Middle East peace process is, among other things, to establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, ... leading to a permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338;

REAFFIRMING their understanding that the interim self-government arrangements contained in this Agreement are an integral part of the whole peace process, that the negotiations on the permanent status, that will start as soon as possible but not later than May 4, 1996, will lead to the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338,

Thus it is clear that the settlement of final status issues, above identified, would be in accordance of Res 242 and Res 338. The former required the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” and the “termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force….”

It should be noted that;

Palestine was not a state at that time nor was it contemplated. Israel wasn’t required to withdraw from “all” territories Israel could remain in occupation until she had “secure and recognized boundaries” and was “free from threats or acts of force”.

Res 242 also demanded “a just settlement of the refugee problem.”  This referred to both Jewish and Arab refugees. But today everyone has forgotten that the number of Jewish refugees in 1950 exceeded the number of Arab refugees. In fact the world has forgotten about these Jewish refugees entirely.

Res 338 simply reaffirmed Res 242.

The Interim Agreement also obligated both parties to “act … immediately, efficiently and effectively against acts or threats of terrorism, violence or incitement.” It is obvious to all that the PA is in gross violation of this commitment and no matter how often they point the accusatory finger at Israel for incitement, as Abbas did again in this speech, it is the PA who is in gross violation.

In addition, Israel and the PA signed a water agreement. The PA argues that Israel is stealing their water and in default of their obligations under this side agreement but the truth is otherwise as can be seen in Overview of Israel-Palestinian Water Issue by the very reliable Jewish Virtual Library.

When the US demands a construction freeze in all of the territories including East Jerusalem or backs the PA demand for borders based on the ’67 lines plus swaps or favors the division of Jerusalem, it is acting in violation of the Oslo Accords. Should Pres Obama refuse to veto a Security Council resolution recognizing a Palestinian State, he too will be acting in violation of the Oslo Accords. Evidently, Harry Reid failed in his attempt to get Obama’s commitment to veto such a resolution on two occasions this year according to Politico.

When the EU seeks to require all goods from the territories to be labelled as such rather than labelled from Israel, it seeks to preempt final status talks. Not only that but it fuels the Boycott, Divestment Movement (BDS) in Europe. Many in Israel consider such a move tantamount to a boycott.

When the EU recognizes the state of Palestine in any way or finances illegal Arab construction in Area C, it is acting in violation of the Oslo Accords

It is of the utmost importance for the US that the PA not collapse due to insufficient funding. This summer the US victims of PA terror obtained a judgement in the Sokolow case against the PA/PLO for over $655 million.

In order to enable the PA to appeal without putting up a bond, the State Department submitted to the Court a "Statement of Interest."  They insisted that the survival of the Palestinian Authority was crucial to America's national security.  They asked the court not to force the Palestinian Authority and the PLO to put up a large bond that might economically harm these convicted terrorist organizations and the Court complied with their request.

If the PA wanted to abandon the Accords, they would have done so long ago. Obviously, they want to keep the Accords in place while at the same time violating them as they please.

Israel too, wants to keep the Accords in place even though the PA keeps violating them. First of all, Israel benefits from the division of the land into Areas A, B and C. C represents 61% of the land and Israel is in full control of it. She even has the right to build there, though this is disputed. Nevertheless Israel is sovereign and can build there if she so chooses.

The PA receives about $1 billion annually from the US and the EU. Without this support, Israel would be responsible to provide for the Palestinians pursuant to the Fourth Geneva Convention. This financial aid also enables the Palestinians to buy Israeli goods.

Security cooperation benefits Israel by making the maintenance of security much easier. The PA maintains this cooperation because without it, it would be defeated by Hamas or ISIS.

From Israel’s point of view, the Accords provide her with the best of both worlds. They have security control over all the land without being responsible to govern the Arabs. That is why she prefers to maintain the status quo rather than to make a move in either direction.

Regardless of everyone’s interest in keeping the PA alive, many expect it to disintegrate in 2016. Israel’s challenge will be to co-opt the Palestinians into cooperation with Israel rather than confrontation.