JewishChronicle.org | Thursday, October 09, 2008
On June 20, 1995, the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin boasted, [The Opposition] promised us Katyusha [rockets] from Gaza, but Gaza has been under the primary control of the Palestinian Authority for more than a year now, and there hasnt been a single Katyusha.
On Sept. 9, 1993, then Foreign Minister Shimon Peres challenged the Opposition, [You] threaten that there will be Katyusha rockets landing in Ashkelon. Would you mind telling me why there are no rockets fired from Aqaba to Eilat?
The Oslo Middle East peace process, argued its originators, was a success and reservations expressed were all so much fear-mongering.
Today, 15 years since Oslo, Katyusha rockets have been falling like rain on Sderot and Ashkelon (until a recent, intermittent breather brought about by a ceasefire).
Much worse, more than 1,500 Israelis have been killed and more than 10,000 more maimed by suicide bombings, drive-by shootings, roadside bombs, lynchings, bulldozer rampages and other inventive forms of murder.
More Israelis have been murdered by terrorists in the 15 years since Oslo than in the entire 45 years of Israels existence that preceded it.
Not only has Oslo been a failure, but its terrible consequences metastasize since its collapse in 2000, thanks largely to efforts to resurrect it and pretend it can work.
Ariel Sharon was elected prime minister in 2001 in response to Oslos clear failure. Yet he too ended up recommencing talks with the Palestinian Authority and agreed to the 2003 Roadmap peace plan.
The Roadmap calls for Israeli concessions in advance of verifiable Palestinian compliance with past agreements on jailing terrorists and ending the incitement to hatred and murder that feeds terror.
Worse, in place of making concessions only by agreement and in return for Palestinian concessions and commitments (however systematically dishonored by the P.A.), Sharon proceeded to make unilateral concessions, withdrawing from Gaza in 2005.
Not only did this ensure that Palestinian terror groups could redeploy unhindered by the Israel Defense Force, but the whole area fell into Hamas hands last year after an internal struggle with Mahmoud Abbas Fatah.
Today, Gaza is an inviting home for Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups. The smuggling of offensive weaponry into Gaza from Egypt, previously curbed by Israeli forces before the 2005 withdrawal, has increased massively since Israeli forces left.
In surveys presented to Prime Minister Ehud Olmerts government in July 2008, the head of the Israel Security Agency, Yuval Diskin, pointed to the accelerated Hamas arms buildup under the cover of the ceasefire, including four tons of explosive materials, 50 antitank missiles, light weaponry, materials for manufacturing rockets and longer range missiles that could strike Kiryat Gat and perhaps even Ashdod.
Hamas is also mining areas in the Gaza Strip and building bunkers.
It was often suggested by its supporters that the Oslo process would improve Israels standing in the world. The opposite has been true.
Even before Oslos collapse in 2000, Western governments and publics ended up accepting the logic implicit in dealing with the P.A.: that the Palestinians were seeking just ends like statehood alongside Israel, not Israels elimination; and that concessions from Israel was the key to peace.
As a result, the world blamed Israel for not giving enough when Arafat launched a terror war, while anti-Israel boycotts and divestment campaigns worldwide have become commonplace, especially at universities.
Since Oslo, there has been a surge of academics arguing openly for Israels replacement by an Arab-majority state. Anti-Semitic activity in Europe has risen steeply since 1993, according to all statistical data.
Other proponents of Oslo, like writer and Peace Now pioneer Amos Oz, prophesied that Oslo would make Israel justifiably tough on all Palestinian violation of agreements. This was a delusion.
P.A. atlases and textbooks continue to pretend that Israel doesnt exist. Fatahs constitution remains unchanged in its call for Israels destruction and the use of terrorism to that end, while the groups 43rd anniversary poster shows all Israel draped in a Palestinian kfiyyeh.
Terrorists like George Habash and Samir Kuntar are personally lauded by P.A. President Abbas. Terror acts like the slaughter in a Jerusalem seminary in March are lauded as deeds of martyrdom and its perpetrators praised in P.A. publications.
Far from paying a price, the P.A. continues to get hand-outs from the international community. Western governments, including the U.S., which once refused to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization, today declare Abbas and the P.A. peace partners worthy of diplomatic and financial support $600 million from the U.S. this year alone.
Little wonder that former Peace Now activist Professor Yuval Steinitz, today a Likud member and recently chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has opined, The idea of a two-state solution should be dead, today, because unfortunately a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would bring about Israels demise.
Steinitz passionately believed in Oslo but has had the courage to admit his mistake. So too should the U.S., Israel and American Jewry.
Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America. Dr. Daniel Mandel is director of the ZOAs Center for Middle East Policy.