Wednesday, September 13, 2023

  • Wednesday, September 13, 2023
  • Elder of Ziyon

Today, on the 30th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, there are dozens of articles - from Israeli sources, from Palestinian sources, in Europe and the US - virtually all of them lamenting the failure of the Oslo peace process.

From the perspective of what both parties hoped to achieve, the agreements were indeed a failure. Israel did not get the security it wanted, and the Palestinians are no closer to a state. 

But notice that neither side is eager to abandon the series of agreements signed in the 1990s. This is because, on a day to day level, both sides benefited from the partial agreements that they live under.  It may not be smart for politicians and pundits to mention those benefits today, but it is a lot easier and lazier to condemn the accords outright rather than look at them in a more nuanced way.

From Israel's perspective, there is no need for Israeli troops to be in Area A where most Palestinian live except for specific operations.  The burden on the IDF would be significantly higher without Oslo. The PA security forces have dropped the ball in the past year, but they have started asserting themselves again against Islamic Jihad and Hamas - who are, after all, rivals. 

It isn't only the IDF. While the Palestinian Authority created by Oslo is dysfunctional and unprofessional, it is an address that Israel can deal with for mundane daily cooperation that needs to be done - meaning this is a bureaucracy that Israel does not need to maintain itself. 

Politically and (probably) economically, Israel has benefited a great deal from Oslo. After all, if the Palestinians officially accept Israel, that makes the argument against other Arab countries accepting it much more difficult. The peace agreement with Jordan would not have happened without Oslo, and it is not so clear that the Abraham Accords would have been signed without the vestiges of Oslo still in place. The Arab world doesn't see a compelling reason to be more pro-Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves are. 

From the Palestinian side, while Abbas has threatened many times to tear up the accords, he hasn't. The reason is simple: the Palestinians have a measure of self-rule for the first time in their history and they do not want to give that up. The Palestinian Authority only exists because of Oslo.

Similarly, while the PA loves to talk about how Jewish settlements have kept expanding since Oslo, there have been no new settlements in Areas A and B since those areas were defined. 

The PA has used Oslo as a means to take the trappings of an independent state - it opens "embassies" and fields Olympics sports teams and signs international agreements and is recognized as the "State of Palestine" by the UN General Assembly. Again, none of this would have occurred without the failed "peace process."

Like it or not, both sides have benefited from the very flawed Oslo Accords. If the agreements are so bad, one or both sides would abrogate them, and it would be easy to blame the other side for violations as an excuse to do so. But neither of them want to - not Abbas after years of threats to withdraw from the accords, not Israel's "most right wing government in history." 

It's easy to throw stones at the Oslo Accords. But no one outside of Palestinian terror groups wants to demolish the fragile Oslo glass house. 

Oslo's failure was a good thing. A full Palestinian state would have been a disaster, not least because it would have been controlled by Hamas by the mid-2000s. 

But the interim agreements signed by Israel and the PLO still hold, and they have the force of international law. Both sides get clear benefits from those agreements.

As bad as the Oslo Accords were,  no one can suggest anything better to govern the relations between Israel and West Bank Palestinians today. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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