New York – The strong Nazi-like Hamas party victory in the Palestinian Arab elections makes it clear that the approach used by Israel, and the US since Oslo began was flawed.
The US and Israel emphasized making one-sided land concessions by Israel, providing substantial monies to the Palestinian Authority (PA), and pushing for elections by the PA.
But lack of land, a bad economy and lack of elections are not the basis for the Arab war against Israel. It is the Palestinian Arab’s hatred of Jews and refusal to accept Israel’s sovereignty over a Jewish State. And this promotion of hatred and murder is promulgated in all of the Palestinian Arab institutions It is found in their schools, textbooks, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, offices, children’s camps, mosques, sermons, and speeches. They have even named schools, streets and sports teams after suicide bombers as well as distributed posters and cards showing “martyrs” as heroes.
This concern about incitement was given lip service every now and then but was never taken seriously. The Palestinian Authority was never held accountable for promoting this type of ugly propaganda. The US and Israel should have made their funding contingent on elimina-tion of this incitement especially since this was an Oslo requirement. They should have made negotiations with the PA contingent on ending this incitement. But the US and Israel never did. We, at ZOA, pleaded with State Department officials about the importance of ending incitement. They only told us incitement is temporary and will end after the Palestinians have a State.
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said: “Elections held in a society that promotes immoral and outrageous values will elect people who espouse those immoral and outrageous values. Before there were elections the Palestinian Arabs had dictators who were evil leading their society. Today they have democratically elected evil leaders running their society. It’s always been clear that if the Palestinian Arab society educates for hatred and murder, peace is impossible. Who would have believed, 12 and a half years after the start of the Oslo peace process that the Palestinian terrorist movement Hamas would win a huge victory in Palestinian elections? The reason for this tragic result is simple. Israel, the US and the world have gone about pursuing peace in a completely misguided way.
Instead of preparing Palestinian society for making peace with Israel, the PA permitted armed terrorist groups to establish themselves in areas under PA control, and allowed the PA controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps to engage in incitement to hatred and murder of Jews and glorification of terrorism as a religious and national duty. PA maps and publications pretended Israel did not exist, PA salaried clerics spewed forth hatred of Jews, Judaism and Israel, school textbooks taught that Israel is a colonial occupier that must be destroyed and colleges, courses and streets were named in honor of suicide bombers and other terrorists who had murdered Israelis.
Israel, the US and the world could and should have taken note of these developments within the PA and responded not only by demanding that the PA end support for terrorism and incitement to hatred and murder but by ending all negotiations and cutting off funds to the PA if it failed to do so. If the world was truly interested in seeing a peace process between Israelis and Palestinians come to fruition, the PA should have been held to account and widely and publicly denounced as a terrorist sponsoring regime when it failed to live up to its commitments. But instead of ending negotiations and funding, the PA was promised eventual statehood, Israel signed more and more agreements with the PA and made even more onesided concessions, handing over more territory, funds and assets while the PA simply renewed its empty promises to end terrorism and incitement. The US continued to pressure Israel to do even more of the same, while continuing to court Yasser Arafat, who became the most frequent visitor to the Clinton White House. Even when Arafat resorted to launching a terrorist war in September 2000 after refusing to accept Israeli and later US proposals for a peace settlement, Israel, the US and the world did not sanction the PA, cut off ties or end diplomatic dealings with it.
All this sent a clear message to the PA, Palestinian terrorist groups and Palestinian society that Israel was exhausted, that no concessions would be necessary, that noone would compel the PA to implement signed agreements and that there was no penalty for waging a terrorist war. Then, when Israel took matters even further by making a huge unilateral concession to the PA handing over Gaza and northern Samaria and uprooting 10,000 Israelis from their homes in the process, Palestinians had even more reason to believe that terrorism would not be penalized but rewarded.
That is why Israel and the world, 12 and a half years after Oslo, have witnessed Hamas having a dramatic election victory. This is what happens when a peace process is all about process instead of being about peace and the fundamental problem of the underlying culture in Palestinian society which promotes hatred and murder is ignored. Because no one cared sufficiently about what the PA leadership was doing and what was happening in Palestinian society, the Oslo process failed comprehensively.
History shows that it is a huge mistake to care only about signing ceremonies, diplomatic processes and elections to the exclusion of all else. If peace is to occur in any conflict, both societies must be ready for it. In Germany before World War Two, then the most educated society in the world, Hitler and the Nazis were voted into power through elections. Despite numerous conferences, agreements and negotiations, war and genocide followed, not peace, because German society embraced racist and aggressive values and ambitions. Elections and pieces of paper mean nothing if governments are totalitarian and their populations brainwashed into hatred and aggression. It is the same with the PA today.
It is easy to confront a conflict by having diplomatic processes, holding elections and throwing money at the problem. But if the US and the world really want to see Israelis and Palestinians living in peace, they must work to change Palestinian society and tackle the underlying problems of hatred, terrorism and aggression that have been ignored for 12 and a half years since the Oslo agreements were signed on September 13, 1993.