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The Deceptive Peace
The Oslo Accords, the Camp David Summit, & similar overtures of peace by the various terrorist organizations that have ruled the Palestinians were all deceptions concealing the ongoing aim of genocide
“The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people, and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchmen. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese, and no one says a word about refugees. But in the case of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single one. Other nations, when victorious on the battlefield, dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious, it must sue for peace. Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.”
“Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all-out war, a war which will last for generations.”
-Yasser Arafat – Former President of the Palestine Liberation Organization
This past week, we again saw the flare-up of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, an off-and-on conflict that goes back 70 years. I will leave it to other writers to describe the horrors perpetuated but will note that Hamas launched the attack on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, another conflict noted for the breakdown of Israeli intelligence. The timing was not a coincidence.
The reprisals would be swift and brutal for any ordinary nation, certainly the United States. When Islamists killed 3,000 civilians in 2001, our response was to topple two governments and kill every leader of Al Queda, the organization responsible. This terrorist group is now a shell of itself, incapable of carrying out a terrorist act in the 22 years since those September 11th atrocities.
But as Hoffer’s quote above makes clear, there are two sets of standards, one for the world and one for Israel. There are already calls for restraint and even, alarmingly, ceasefires as Israel begins their justified and necessary counterattack.
Anti-Israeli enmity has been a factor since its founding in 1948. On Sunday, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) blasted Israel’s “occupation” policies. Tlaib—the first Palestinian-American sworn into Congress in 2019—issued the statement declaring Israel an “apartheid” state after some of her fellow “Squad” members also sparked controversy Saturday for similar anti-Israel statements.
Since Saturday, there have been pro-Palestinian demonstrations in New York and a Harvard Law consortium of 31 organizations condemning Israel. You have networks such as CNN and MSNBC featuring pro-Palestinian, even pro-Hamas spokespeople complaining of the Israeli response. And though squad leader Alexandria Ocasio Cortez condemned Hamas, she called for a “ceasefire and de-escalation” before Israeli reprisals had barely begun.
Some of the talking points of the pro-Hamas actions include this diatribe:
It is a common conception to blame the misgovernment of the Palestinian territories on Israel. And some protests in favor of these horrible Hamas actions show a degree of ignorance bordering on lunacy. One Pro-Hamas demonstration in Barcelona, Spain, featured LGBT flags being waved despite Hamas criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual activity and subjecting gays to 10 years imprisonment.
The conjecture of all of these voices is that it is Israel who is desirous of war and perpetuating the conflict in order to keep the Palestinians as an underclass. The Apartheid theme is telling in that the comparison recalls the government-sanctioned racial stratification that once existed in South Africa. This entire argument relies on the position that Palestinian leaders would like nothing better than to embrace a lasting peace. The basis for the argument crumbles when we look at a seven-year period from 1993 to 2000 in regard to American, Israeli, and Palestinian attempts at a peaceful resolution.
The opportunity for a more permanent end to hostilities was never as close as in both the 1993 Oslo Accords and a proposed 2000 Camp David agreement. Here is how PBS described this proposal:
“This was a historic turning point in Arab-Israeli relations. Hammered out in complete secrecy in Oslo, Norway, by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators acting without intermediaries, the Oslo Accord forced both sides to come to terms with each other’s existence. Israel agreed to recognize Palestinian Liberation Organization Yasser Arafat as its partner in peace talks. It agreed to recognize Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by beginning to withdraw from the cities of Gaza and Jericho—essentially exchanging land for peace. The Palestinians, in turn, recognized Israel’s right to exist while also renouncing the use of terrorism and its long-held call for Israel’s destruction.”
-Frontline—Shattered Dreams of Peace
After 1993, there were seven years of back-and-forth negotiations between Arafat, the Syrian President, and Israeli Prime Ministers, the final being Ehud Barak. Three different Israeli leaders, from three different parties, all desired a peaceful resolution, but they were all negotiating with the same Palestinian leadership.
Harvey Sicherman, writing for Britannica, states:
“Barak’s willingness to concede to Arab demands destroyed his Knesset majority in June. Nonetheless, he attended Clinton’s hastily arranged summit at Camp David in July. The Palestinian leader resisted this last-ditch effort to reach an agreement and stated that he could not concede Palestinian rights ahead of time. Barak’s unexpected willingness to share Jerusalem with the Palestinians was not reciprocated by Arafat, who on this—as on the issue of the return of refugees—refused to compromise, demanding nothing less than full Palestinian sovereignty in East Jerusalem.”
-Harvey Sicherman, The Wye River Memorandum
Writer Stephan Grigat, penning an article just one month ago entitled “Thirty years since the Oslo Accords: After high hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace process, why did it fail?” notes:
“Oslo and subsequent agreements were based on the basic premise of Israel withdrawing its superior military power. Israel hoped that such a concession would lead its enemies—whose declared intention for decades had been to destroy Israel—to turn, if not into friends, at least into opponents willing to compromise.”
-Stephen Grigat—Thirty years since the Oslo Accords
Yet Arafat, whose right to legitimacy was not through elections but instead as a leader of a terrorist group that had operated against Israel for decades, began to reconsider, as Griget adds:
“In 1993, Arafat and his Fatah had declared that they would no longer use violence to achieve their goals. Nevertheless, the years from 1994 to 1996 were the bloodiest in a long time for the Israelis. Israel’s government was forced to either ignore terrorist attacks or Arafat’s failure to quell them, or to declare the peace process over as soon as it had begun.”
Long before the apparent failure of the Oslo process, many prominent Fatah leaders allowed themselves to be drawn into divulging their actual goal. Faisal al-Husseini, a PLO representative who always belonged to the organization’s more “moderate” wing, famously described the Oslo agreements as a “Trojan horse.” The Palestinians had made their way into the Israeli “fortress,” he said, which in the long run would lead to the “liberation of all Palestine.”
Arafat made it clear that he understood the agreement with Israel to be entirely in the spirit of the 10-year hudna concluded by Mohammed with an enemy tribe: a temporary ceasefire aimed not at peace but at consolidating forces to resume armed struggle against the enemy. Throughout the 1990s, the Fatah-controlled media disseminated anti-Semitic propaganda almost on par with that of Hamas and other Islamists.
At Camp David in 2000, it was former President Bill Clinton who led the last-ditch effort. According to the pro-Palestinian Institute for Middle East Understanding, some of the details offered during discussions included an Israeli withdrawal from 91% of what Israel defined as the West Bank, sovereignty over the Muslim and Christian quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem, and permanent custody over the Noble Sanctuary, a holy site for Muslims.
Arafat rejected this and insisted on the “right of return.” This is the term for the Palestinian’s declared right to return not only to what is today modern Israel, but the right to the land upon which Israelis now own. The implementation of this policy would call into question Israel’s Jewish character, the basis for their nationhood. Even the usually optimistic Clinton grew frustrated with Arafat’s intransigence, “This is ridiculous, this is no way to negotiate,” Clinton said, according to one aide in attendance.
With Barak’s failure in 2000, the Israeli left, led by figures such as Shimon Peres and Ehud, was left in political oblivion, and hardliners such as Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu have dominated the government since. The PLO had a chance at something that would have been agreed to a few decades earlier but passed on the opportunity for peace.
I talked of the unique nature of the world’s views towards Israel, which I believe is fueled by millennia of anti-Semitism. What is not uncommon in history is the quest for legitimacy upon those who put themselves up as leaders. In the United States and Israel, that legitimacy comes from the people’s desires in selecting their leaders. For most of history, the legitimacy came from birthright. And then there were those, like Genghis Kahn or Napoleon, who happened to be pretty good at war. The current leaders in Egypt gain legitimacy from the army’s control. For all of their theocratic posturing, the Revolutionary Guard guarantees Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s hold on power.
And finally, there is the legitimacy born of being against something. Like Hamas after him, Yasser Arafat was not about what was best for the Palestinian people. If that were the case, he would have tried to enforce Oslo or stayed at the bargaining table in 2000 when Barak gave him most of what he wanted. The reality was that Arafat’s hold on power was not predicated on good governance or peace in the Middle East, but rather on opposition to the very concept of Israel.
An irrefutable argument of who truly desires peace, put on display this week, is a simple question. At various times, Israel had the power to eradicate Gaza and the West Bank but had not done so. If that power were in the hands of Hamas, what would happen? It is the hatred of one people, not the love of their own, that determined Arafat’s actions then and Hamas’s actions today.
AD Tippet is the founder and Publisher of the Conservative Historian. Aves has conducted extensive research in Political, Religious, Social, and Educational history across all eras and geographies. He has been writing and podcasting for over 12 years. In 2020, he published his first book, The Conservative Historian. He has degrees in history, education, and an MBA. @BelAves