Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
The Oslo Accords:
A Gigantic Disaster for the Palestinians
By Khalid Amayreh
in occupied Palestine
PIC, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, September 16, 2013
A few days ago, I asked a Palestinian lawyer from my hometown, Dura, if
it was possible for me to file a suit case against "The State of Israel" in
a Palestinian court.
On 25 February, 1953, Israeli troops murdered virtually my entire family,
including my three paternal uncles as well as three other relatives. In
addition to the cold-blooded murder, the Israeli army then seized our entire
property upon which our life depended to a large extent, including 250-300
sheep, condemning my family to live in a state of abject property for more
than thirty years. No apology or mea Culpa or acknowledgment of guilt
or responsibility has ever been made by the State of Israel.
Lawyer, Muhammed Rabai' stared at me, saying: "Mr. Amayreh, it seems your
knowledge in matters of law is modest. The Oslo Accords gave Israel all the
assets and gave us all the liabilities."
He went on: “You have to
make a clear distinction between law and justice. Even if Israeli soldiers
or terrorists or settlers murdered your entire family, you still wouldn’t
have the right to sue Israel in a Palestinian court."
As a defensive
reflex, I asked the esteemed lawyer why was it that any Israeli Jew or
non-Israeli Jew could sue any Palestinian or Arab entity in an Israeli court
without any problem.
"Where is the principle of parity and
equality?," I protested.
Eventually, Rabai', gave me a lecture
on the legalistic dimensions of the Oslo Accords.
Then he said, with
frustration detected in the tone of his speech: "The strong is shameless."
This story is one of thousands of other similar or graver stories
encapsulating the utter injustice and inequity inflicted on the Palestinian
people and their just national cause as a result of the scandalous accords
known as the Oslo Agreement.
I remember that a few days after the
conclusion of the infamous agreement, I wrote an Arabic article, describing
the agreement as "a body with numerous deformities and defects, however you
look at it, you will be offended and affronted."
I also remember I
asked the late Faisal Husseini how the PLO was gullible enough to accept
such a scandalously oblique deal?
Husseini knew the agreement was
thoroughly deformed from its head to its tail. He probably knew more than I
did about the scandalous aspects of the Accords which the Palestinian
leadership and also Israel wanted to keep secret. But his mouth was muzzled
for political reasons and he couldn't say all he knew about the agreement
and the circumstances leading up to its acceptance by the PLO leadership.
Eventually, Husseini said this: True, the baby is deformed …but it is
I also asked a number of PLO leaders who were visiting
al-Khalil a few months after the Oslo accords were reached why the PLO
leadership recognized Israel without receiving a reciprocal Israeli
recognition or without even having Israel saying where its borders lie.
To my chagrin, I only received the following laconic answer to all my
questions: "Yes I agree with you… that was a mistake that we
Twenty long years have now passed since the
conclusion of the hapless agreement. And there is an absolute consensus
among Palestinians, regardless of their political orientation, that the
agreement was a disaster for the Palestinian people and their national
The PLO and its mostly mendacious media outlets and other
mouth-pieces sought to give the impression that the agreement would lead to
the establishment of a viable and territorially contiguous state on the West
Bank and Gaza Strip, with Jerusalem as its capital.
The mantra was
invoked by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat rather ad nauseam that
many Palestinians began to ridicule Arafat for his rhetorical overindulgence
and for his utter unrealism.
Arafat didn't always make a meticulous
distinction between reality and fantasy. On several occasions, he declared
Palestinian towns he visited in the 1990s "liberated, liberated, liberated"
even though Israeli occupation soldiers were manning roadblocks and
checkpoints a few blocks away from where Arafat was speaking.
There is no doubt that the Oslo Accords were a vague
agreement par excellence. The PLO viewed the accords as an initial stage
toward ending the Israeli occupation and achieving independence and
The Israelis, for their part, viewed the agreement as an
arrangement that would allow Israel to maintain control of the West Bank
without paying a costly political and economic price.
But in this
case, it is only the strong party that enforces its interpretation of the
vague agreement. Needless to say, this is exactly what Israel did and has
Indeed, Israel has maintained effective control over
every nook and cranny in the West Bank. It retained a carte blanche to
arrest any Palestinian, from an ordinary individual to the highest ranking
elected political official. This happened while much of the world kept
thinking that the Palestinians were finally free of Israeli occupation and
The current Palestinian leadership, though less
captivated by the empty rhetoric that generally characterized Arafat's
discourse, is yet to free itself completely from the historical Palestinian
leader's legacy and style of thinking.
For example, the "Palestinian
Authority" (PA) sees nothing embarrassing or objectionable in referring to
itself as "the state of Palestine" when the PA entity is lacking almost
everything that would make a state look like a state, including recognized
borders, freedom from foreign occupation, sovereignty, and free, unfettered
As to the PA itself, it is no more than a pathetic police
state without a state, an entity that keeps itself afloat thanks to handouts
and politically-motivated "aid" from the United States, Israel's guardian
ally, and the European Union.
In fact, the crippling financial
crisis that initially made the PLO accept the scandalous Oslo Accords in
1993 is now forcing the present Palestinian leadership to sit down in futile
talks with Israel despite the aggressive continuation of Jewish settlement
activities all over the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem.
few months ago, Ahmed Qurei', who negotiated the Oslo Agreement on behalf of
the PLO, was quoted as saying that 20 years of peace negotiations with
Israel yielded a very fat Zero.
In light, one is prompted to ask if
the PLO-PA leadership has learned any lessons from the Oslo fiasco and
whether it would repeat the 20-year experiment!