Mon 18 Sep 2023 9:10 am - Jerusalem Time
Oslo, after 30 years of bitter harvest...what next?
After a sufficient period of time has passed for political projects, they must be subject to review and evaluation to draw lessons, correct mistakes, and adjust course if necessary. The Oslo Accords, 30 years after its signing, are no exception. On the contrary, time in the calculations of the Palestinian issue is more sensitive than any other issue, as the Zionist party continues to implement its project and works relentlessly to destroy the components of the Palestinian political identity and obstruct the Palestinians and their right to an independent state. So, with all objectivity, when we evaluate the Oslo Accords based on the actual events on the ground and the repercussions that affected the Palestinian issue, we conclude the following:
1. It was said in the past: “You can be defeated in one or more battles, but you cannot lose the war.”
We lost the battle in 1948, as well as in 1967, and in 1982. But we did not lose the war with the Zionist entity. At the national popular level, from the Buraq Revolution in 1929 until the last martyr in Jenin, Nablus, or Gaza, our people did not retreat for a moment from their insistence on fighting and resistance. And adherence to his full right to his homeland and its sanctities. In other words, our people did not surrender and did not accept defeat despite all the sacrifices, and despite all the conspiracies, whether those they knew about or those they did not know about. He is aware that this emerging Zionist entity does not have any legitimacy, whether historical or legal, to remain on our land.
But it was the Oslo Accords that achieved this strategic breakthrough for Israel and gave it a certificate of the legitimacy of its existence, at a time when it did not have any papers or documents proving its right to any inch of the land of Palestine. Even the partition resolution in 1947 - which gave the Palestinians about 45% of the land - was not a legal document, because it was rejected by the Palestinians and Arabs, and the United Nations - which adopted the resolution - does not own the land until it decides whether to grant it to any party.
Even the countries' recognition of the entity and acceptance of its membership in the United Nations did not grant the entity any legitimacy to control the land or political legitimacy. It was conditional on two conditions: the first was the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the second was the return of refugees to their homes from which they were forcefully displaced, and this has not been achieved to date. Therefore, the legitimacy of the entity is invalid according to international law.
Despite this, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s recognition of Resolutions 242 and 338 in Algeria in 1988, and their conversion into written documents in Oslo in 1993, is what established the legitimacy of the entity, dropped the Palestinians’ right to 78% of the land, and made all Palestinian rights negotiable. Whoever signed Oslo acted as a broker who granted all the properties and registered them in the “Taboo” to an accidental buyer without the consent of the original land owner.
The matter did not stop there. Mahmoud Abbas went to the United Nations in 2012 to request Palestine’s membership in the United Nations on the negotiated 1967 borders, bypassing the status of Jerusalem in international law, which considers it a disputed area (east and west), based on the partition decision. . Free concessions, of course, without any compensation or guarantees. Therefore, the defeat of 1948 and 1967 is not the Nakba, but the real Nakba and loss of the war is the signing of this fateful agreement.
2. “Oslo” established this hateful, destructive division that we live in today
It made a portion of the people first-class citizens (according to Zionist standards). For example, after Oslo, the prisoners were forced upon their release from the occupation prisons to sign a document renouncing terrorism and committing to peace. This document defines the ideal characteristics of a good Palestinian citizen, while the other part is considered “terrorists” wanted inside and outside the country (according to Zionist standards as well). Then we confirmed this in our national documents, and we abolished from the Charter the articles related to the liberation of historic Palestine and the armed struggle.
There is nothing wrong with our opinions differing about a project or agreement, but what is more important is how the differences are resolved. Everyone knows and has read how matters were decided to pass this agreement through pressure, intimidation and deception. The negotiating track was kept secret, even from the Palestinian delegation negotiating on our behalf in Washington, headed by Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi. The agreement was announced days before it was signed, shocking many leaders and followers. Whoever follows the history of that period or reads the memoirs of those who participated in it, such as Abu Alaa Qurei, Abu Mazen, Mamdouh Nofal, Ahmed Abdel Rahman, and others, will notice that - even if in retrospect - they admit that they underestimated the extremist Israeli position and the possibility of causing a displacement in it.
In such situations, if we were faced with a leadership that cared about its people and their opinion, and was concerned with strengthening the agreement nationally, the decision should have been taken through a comprehensive popular referendum at home and abroad, or through real representative institutions, and not through a theatrical claim to democracy, which in reality is farcical and absurd.
3. “Oslo” opened the door to all “political calamities” whether at the national, Arab or Islamic levels
It is true that there was the Egyptian Camp David Accords and secret Arab contacts with the entity, but all of these did not give the entity any legitimacy or rights, especially regarding the Palestinian file. The Camp David Agreement only solved the Egyptian problem and did not impose any conditions on us. Until this agreement, it remained confined within an elite political framework, and the relationship with the entity continued at the popular, partisan, academic, and elite levels as a crime and a political taboo.
Before Oslo, none of the Arabs dared to recognize the entity, and the number of countries around the world that recognized the PLO exceeded the number of countries that recognized the entity. We cannot resist normalization, condemn it, and warn of its dangers during the day, and then communicate with the Zionists at night and do things that are considered forbidden. We will not expect everyone to stop communicating with the entity and searching for ways of rapprochement with it. Simply put, “no one will be more royal than the king.”
4. Oslo, like all international agreements, will practically not be binding if it is not based on a force on the ground that guarantees its implementation. At the international level, our allies were unable to support us in the face of Zionist arrogance and American bias. More than one theoretical statement did not prevent practical steps on the ground that destroyed the Palestinian national project. As for our opponents or the enemy’s allies, they provided him with all political and material support to complete his political project and erase the Palestinian issue.
Is it possible that our naivety would lead us to hand over the solution papers to the Americans? While they are the exclusive sponsor and greatest protector of the entity, whoever reads the memoirs of the negotiations realizes that the American delegations - most of whom were Zionist Jews - were more extremist than some of the Zionists, and this is what many who lived through this period mentioned, even Yasser Arafat “Abu Ammar” - may God have mercy on him. He refused to meet the American envoy Dennis Ross, or was harsh on him when he met him, considering that his behavior was more Zionist than the Zionists.
International relations are the “management of power,” and there is no place in this jungle for values, morals, and even law, except for what serves their interests. Where were the values and laws when Iraq was invaded and destroyed? Or in Afghanistan? Or Somalia? Or Syria? Or conspiring against the Arab Spring revolutions, which were a cry from peoples demanding the freedom, dignity, and democracy that America promotes everywhere?
5. The occupation killed “Oslo” and the illusions and mirages that were built on it
The occupation killed the Oslo Accords before they could begin, using all available tools. It began when their extremists committed a massacre in the Tomb of the Patriarchs by Baruch Goldstein in February 1994, a few months after the signing of the agreement. The tragedy did not stop until the assassination of the agreement's signatory, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in November 1995. In addition, the occupation leadership established a legal and political situation that made it impossible for the Palestinians to build an independent political entity, or achieve any of the basic goals, such as the return of refugees. The leadership worked to ensure that this emerging entity would remain linked to the occupation, and could be eliminated if its harms exceeded its benefits.
Even the late Abu Ammar - may God have mercy on him - who signed the agreement with them faced a siege, and was eliminated when he became an obstacle to the project, and he began attempts to change its course. Hence, it was not surprising to see a scene in which armed young men from the Palestinian security services appeared surrounding occupation cars to ensure their safe exit from inside the cities in the occupied West Bank. Despite the shock caused by this scene, we may witness more dangerous and humiliating events in the coming days. In other words, "Israel" and its allies, especially the United States of America, will continue their efforts until a force similar to the "Lahad Army" is formed.
6. “Oslo” aborted the first Palestinian intifada and paved the way for the occupation.
In practice, before Oslo, our Palestinian people were leading a comprehensive intifada that confused the occupation’s calculations, shuffled its cards, and pushed it into a corner internally and externally, but today our people are divided; Not only between Gaza and the West Bank, but our people in the West Bank live in cantons isolated from each other.
Before Oslo, the number of settlers did not exceed 100 thousand settlers at the highest estimate, and now there are about 600 thousand settlers at the lowest estimate, and in the same proportion the areas controlled by the settlements have doubled.
East Jerusalem is being Judaized in full swing and its Palestinian residents are being expelled, and there are plans to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque temporally and spatially on the path to full control in preparation for building the Temple.
Wealth is stolen, capabilities are plundered, security is lost, homes are demolished, poverty is widespread, and unemployment is constantly rising. In short, the most extreme Zionist leadership is seriously implementing its plans to resolve the conflict in its favor.
7. “Oslo”: imaginary benefits granted in exchange for disastrous concessions
Some may talk about the benefits of Oslo, and what it achieved in terms of the return of some of our people to their homeland, or the presence of the leadership on solid ground inside the homeland from which they would set out to complete the march, especially in light of the international situation at the time, after the destruction of Iraq in the First Gulf War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the exclusivity of the United States. United to rule the world.
Even if what is said is partially true, without going into the details of the discussion at that stage, we say in brief: “Whoever cannot marry through legitimate means does not have the right to be considered fornication, regardless of its justifications.” Likewise, in our case, some benefits do not justify giving up the inherent rights of the Palestinian people, most notably their right to self-determination, their right to their land, their sanctities, and their right to return.
This is an urgent and brief assessment of this national disaster, and there is no room for more than that, but the most important question is: What next?
There is no solution from our point of view except to repudiate this disastrous agreement, return to the people and unite with them, and rebuild the inclusive national institutions so that they are representative of everyone without exception. It is also necessary to agree on a comprehensive national path that is agreed upon, approved by all sectors of our people at home and abroad, and at the same time, external interference must be neutralized as much as possible.
As an intermediate step, until the institutional reform project is completed, a temporary national leadership can be adopted that represents the national whole and will be the decision-maker. Perhaps the formula of general secretaries is an appropriate formula, if it is activated and institutionalized and not left to the rule of the individual or party that may control it.
This path, which can be called the “National Rescue Plan,” is the way to protect our national project, and no one on the face of the earth can go beyond this cohesive national situation based on legitimate rights.
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