Timeline: Twenty years of failed US-led peace talks

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 22 Comments
handshake

Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shake hands on the White House lawn, September 13, 1993. (Photo: AP)

The Institute for Middle East Understanding published the following resources to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Oslo Accords on September 13, 2013. 

A TIMELINE: 20 YEARS OF FAILED US-LED PEACE TALKS
Part One

December 1987: The First Intifada

After 20 years of repressive Israeli military rule, Palestinians in the occupied territories launch a large-scale popular uprising, or Intifada. The mostly unarmed rebellion, and Israel’s attempts to crush it with brutal force, gains widespread international sympathy for the Palestinian cause. (See here for more on the First Intifada.)

December 1988: PLO Recognizes Israel

The PLO officially recognizes Israel and agrees to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in just 22% of historic Palestine. Israel dismisses this groundbreaking compromise and continues to refuse to negotiate with the PLO.

June 1990: Mounting US Pressure on Israel to Negotiate

Frustrated at Israel’s intransigence, US Secretary of State James Baker, who is trying to organize an international peace conference, reads the White House switchboard telephone number during congressional testimony, adding to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who isn’t present, “When you’re serious about peace, call us.”

October 1990: Haram al-Sharif Massacre

In October 1990, a group of Jewish extremists attempts to lay a cornerstone for a Jewish temple in the highly sensitive Haram al-Sharif mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem. In the unrest that follows, Israeli forces kill at least 20 Palestinians using live ammunition. Israel’s use of lethal, disproportionate force against Palestinian protesters prompts international condemnation, including from the US government, and increases pressure on Israel to talk peace.

1991: The First Gulf War

An international coalition led by the US ejects occupying Iraqi forces from Kuwait in the First Gulf War, heralding a new post-Cold War era in the Middle East in which the US is the sole superpower. Following its victory, the US seeks to take advantage of the new geopolitical reality, increasing its efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

October 1991: Madrid Conference

Following threats by the administration of George H.W. Bush to withhold $10 billion in loan guarantees unless Israel ends settlement construction, Israeli Prime Minister Shamir agrees to meet with Palestinian representatives, but not PLO officials, despite the fact that the PLO is considered the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people by the UN and international community. Talks between Israeli officials and Palestinians based in the occupied territories, who are in close contact with PLO officials behind the scenes, begin in Madrid, Spain, in late October 1991.

October 18, 1991: US Letter of Assurance to the Palestinians

In a letter of assurance sent to the Palestinian delegation prior to the Madrid conference, US Secretary of State James Baker pledges that the US does “not recognize Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem or the extension of its municipal boundaries, and we encourage all sides to avoid unilateral acts that would exacerbate local tensions or make negotiations more difficult or preempt their final outcome… In this regard the United States has opposed and will continue to oppose settlement activity in the territories occupied in 1967, which remains an obstacle to peace.”

1992: Secret Talks Under Oslo

While the Madrid talks flounder due to continued Israeli intransigence, the Israeli government bypasses the Palestinian representatives sent to Madrid and begins secret negotiations, sponsored by the Norwegian government, with the PLO, weakened politically since the disaster of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the PLO’s support for Iraq during the First Gulf War, believing it will be more willing to compromise on issues such as settlement construction and fundamental Palestinian rights like the right of return for refugees expelled from their homes during Israel’s creation in 1947-9.

August 1993: Oslo I Announced

The agreement resulting from the secret PLO-Israel negotiations, known as the Declaration of Principles (or Oslo I), is publicly announced. The Oslo process creates the Palestinian National Authority (PA) and is supposed to lead to a final peace agreement by 1999, however the ultimate goal of talks is vague, with Israel still refusing to formally accept the creation of a Palestinian state. Israel subsequently allows Yasser Arafat and other exiled PLO leaders to return to Gaza and the West Bank to head the PA and institute limited Palestinian self-rule in some areas, while the Israeli military continues to maintain overall control of the occupied territories.

September 9, 1993: Official Exchange of Letters Between the PLO and Israel

On September 9, 1993, the PLO and the government of Israel exchange official letters in which the Palestinians formally recognize “the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.” In return, Israel acknowledges the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people but does not endorse the creation of a Palestinian state.

September 13, 1993: Arafat-Rabin Handshake on White House Lawn

In what is widely hailed as an historic moment, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin sign theDeclaration of Principles (also known as Oslo I) on the White House lawn with US President Bill Clinton overseeing the proceedings.

1994-2000: Increased Restrictions on Movement & Rapid Expansion of Settlements

As the terms of Oslo begin to be implemented, Israel imposes increased restrictions on Palestinian movement between Israel and the occupied territories, between the occupied West Bank and Gaza, and within the occupied territories themselves. This is part of an Israeli policy designed to separate Palestinians and Israelis, and to separate the West Bank from Gaza, which are supposed to be a single territorial unit under Oslo. Successive Israeli governments also rapidly accelerate the construction of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law. Between 1993 and 2000, the number of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), nearly doubles, from 110,900 to 190,206 according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Accurate figures for settlements in occupied East Jerusalem are harder to obtain, but as of 2000 the number of settlers in East Jerusalem stands at more than 167,000 according to B’Tselem.

February 25, 1994: Cave of the Patriarchs Massacre

Brooklyn-born settler Baruch Goldstein murders 29 Palestinians as they pray in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. In the ensuing unrest, 19 more Palestinians are killed by Israeli soldiers. Following the massacre, Israel fails to remove Hebron’s extremist settler enclave, instead increasing restrictions on Palestinian residents. Just over a month later, the Islamist militant group Hamas, which was formed a few years earlier during the First Intifada, launches its first suicide bombing against Israeli civilians.

May 1994: Gaza-Jericho Agreement Signed

On May 4, the Gaza-Jericho Agreement is signed. A much longer document than the Declaration of Principles, Gaza-Jericho spells out in greater detail the role of the Palestinian Authority and its relationship with Israel, and calls for a final peace agreement to be reached within five years.

September 1995: Oslo II Signed

On September 28, 1995, Israel and the PLO sign an agreement known as Oslo II, which provides for a redeployment of the Israeli military from some parts of the occupied territories and divides the West Bank into three separate administrative units, Areas A, B, and C. As a result, Israel maintains full control over most of the West Bank while turning over responsibility for Palestinian population centers to the PA. (For more on Areas A, B, and C, see section above on Oslo II.)

November 1995: Yitzhak Rabin Assassinated

On November 4, 1995, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated by Yigal Amir, a right-wing Jewish extremist opposed to the Oslo Accords.

May 1996: Benjamin Netanyahu Elected Prime Minister for First Term

Following Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud party, an outspoken opponent of the Oslo Accords, defeats Shimon Peres in elections and becomes prime minister of Israel. Apparently taking the advice of his predecessor as Likud leader, Yitzhak Shamir, who stated following his 1992 electoral defeat: “I would have conducted negotiations on autonomy for 10 years and in the meantime we would have reached half a million [settlers in the occupied West Bank],” Netanyahu drags out talks while simultaneously expanding Jewish settlements. Netanyahu later brags about sabotaging the Oslo process, telling a group of settlers in 2001: “I de facto put an end to the Oslo Accords.”

January 1997: Hebron Protocol Signed

In 1997, Netanyahu and Arafat sign the Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron, which delineates further phased withdrawals of Israeli soldiers from sections of Hebron and other parts of the West Bank. Netanyahu later boasts that with the Hebron Protocol he undermined Oslo by insisting that Israel wouldn’t withdraw soldiers from “specified military locations,” and that Israel would unilaterally decide what constituted a military location. Netanyahu later explains to a group of settlers: “Why is that important? Because from that moment on I stopped the Oslo Accords.”

October 1998: Wye River Memorandum Signed

In October 1998, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators sign the Wye River Memorandum, which is intended to facilitate the implementation of parts of the Oslo II agreement which Israel failed to carry out previously, including further redeployments of Israeli forces.

May 1999: Deadline for Final Agreement Expires

Deadline for signing an agreement on final status issues as outlined in the Declaration of Principles and the Gaza-Jericho Agreement passes.

May 1999: Ehud Barak Elected Prime Minister

After defeating Netanyahu in elections in May, Labor party leader Ehud Barak becomes prime minister in July and declares his intention to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. However, at the same time, Barak further ramps up settlement growth, undermining Palestinian confidence in his intentions. By the end of his short term in office (July 1999-March 2001) Barak approves more settlements than his more right-wing predecessor, Netanyahu, did in his three years in power.

September 1999: Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum Signed

Similar to the Wye River Memorandum, the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, signed by Arafat and Barak, was intended to implement sections of Oslo II that Israel failed to enact previously, in particular further redeployments of Israeli soldiers. It also called for a permanent agreement on final status issues to be reached by September 2000.

July 2000: Camp David Summit

In July 2000, at the invitation of President Clinton, then in the final months of his second term in office, Israeli and Palestinian leaders meet at Camp David to negotiate final status issues for a hoped-for permanent peace agreement. In secret talks preceding Camp David, Palestinian negotiators offer far-ranging concessions beyond the international consensus of what the outlines of a peace agreement should look like. In contrast to the widely circulated story of the “generous offer” allegedly made by Barak, in reality the Israelis never actually make a formal offer at Camp David, submitting no written proposals. The only proposals offered by the Israelis are conveyed orally, mostly through US officials, and lack detail. The Camp David summit ends without an agreement, after which President Clinton praises Prime Minister Barak’s “courage,” and, contrary to an earlier promise made to the Palestinians who came to Camp David reluctantly, blames the failure on Arafat and the Palestinian leadership. This distorted, one-sided narrative quickly takes hold in Israel and the US, allowing Israeli leaders to claim that they have “no Palestinian partner” for peace. (See here for more on the talks at Camp David.)

October 2000: Outbreak of the Second Intifada

Palestinian frustration at seven years of fruitless negotiations, during which time Israel massively expands settlements and entrenches its occupation rather than rolling it back, boils over into a second, more violent uprising, sparked by a provocative visit by Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon, who is reviled by Palestinians for his brutal record as an officer in the Israeli military and as defense minister, to the Noble Sanctuary mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem.

January 2001: Taba Summit

Following the failure at Camp David and the outbreak of the Second Intifada, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators meet again in Taba, Egypt, in January 2001. Although both sides subsequently agree that progress is made at Taba, by this time Barak is a lame duck prime minister, with polls predicting a massive defeat for his Labor party in elections scheduled for February.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE OSLO ACCORDS

  • After more than a half-century of bloody conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Zionist Jews, in 1993 Israeli and Palestinian leaders sat down face to face at the negotiating table for the first time in an attempt to forge peace.
  • Oslo marked the beginning of a bilateral negotiations process, with international mediation monopolized by the US, Israel’s greatest patron, that would become the model for all subsequent negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
  • Oslo created the Palestinian Authority (PA), a supposedly interim self-rule government that governs Palestinian population centers in the occupied West Bank and Gaza under overall Israeli military control. 

WHY DID OSLO FAIL?

  • Israeli leaders never accepted the creation of a genuinely independent Palestinian state as part of the two-state solution, continuing to colonize Palestinian land and deepen their control of Palestinians in the occupied territories while supposedly negotiating an end to the occupation.
  • The hardline positions of successive Israeli governments were supported by the Clinton administration, and subsequently the administration of George W. Bush, which both failed to do anything to stop settlement construction or other Israeli violations of signed agreements and international law. Instead of serving as an honest broker, the US acted as “Israel’s attorney,” in the words of longtime senior US State Department official Aaron David Miller.
  • The direct bilateral negotiations framework of Oslo accentuated the massive power imbalance between the two parties, which was further reinforced by the failure of the US to act as an even-handed mediator.
  • While massively expanding settlements and attendant infrastructure such as Israeli-only roads on occupied Palestinian land, Israel began to place severe restrictions on Palestinian movement, both within the occupied territories themselves and between the territories and the outside world. Rather than gaining their freedom from decades of Israeli military rule, during the Oslo years most Palestinians instead witnessed a deepening of Israel’s control over their lives and their land, causing widespread frustration and disillusionment with the peace process.
  • A close examination of the agreements comprising the Oslo Accords and Israeli actions on the ground, most notably rapidly expanding settlement construction, indicate that Oslo was intended by its Israeli and American architects to cement Israeli control over the occupied territories while shifting responsibility for policing the Palestinian population from the Israeli army to the security forces of the PA, thus “streamlining” the occupation for Israel.

RESULTS OF OSLO ON THE GROUND

  • Between 1993 and 2000, the number of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), nearly doubled, from 110,900 to 190,206 according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Today, 20 years after the start of Oslo, there are more than 300,000 Israeli settlers living on Palestinian land in the West Bank, and another 200,000 in East Jerusalem.
  • Between 1993 and 2000, almost 1700 Palestinian homes in the occupied territories were destroyed by Israel,according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
  • Oslo fragmented the West Bank into three separate administrative districts, Areas A, B, C, and Gaza was separated from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. (See below section on Oslo II for more on Areas A, B, and C.)
  • Occupied East Jerusalem was virtually severed from the rest of the West Bank as a result of Israel’s construction of a ring of settlements around the city’s expanded municipal boundaries. (See here for map of settlements around East Jerusalem.)
  • Oslo resulted in increased restrictions on Palestinian movement within the occupied territories and between the occupied territories and the outside world. Today, at any given time, there are approximately 500 barriers to Palestinian movement in the West Bank, an area smaller than Delaware.
  • The restrictions on Palestinian movement and frequent curfews and closures imposed on the occupied territories during the Oslo years and subsequently devastated the Palestinian economy, which has become largely dependent on Israeli tax transfers and international aid.

22 Responses

  1. HarryLaw
    September 11, 2013, 1:10 pm

    Palestinians are worse off every year, which suggests as per the Oded Yinon plans in the 1980’s that “There is no indication that Arab strategists have internalized the Zionists plan in its full ramifications, instead they react with incredulity and shock whenever a new stage of it unfolds”. How true, just witness Saeb Erekats reaction when told of 3,000 more settlements to be built shortly after agreeing to more futile talks.

  2. James Canning
    September 11, 2013, 2:08 pm

    @HarryLaw – – Palestinians have to continue to resist notion of “facts on the ground”. Even if John Kerry foolishly was apparently weakening the US position that 1967 borders are starting point for any negotiated changes.

    • HarryLaw
      September 12, 2013, 4:08 am

      @ James Canning…”Palestinians have to continue to resist notion of “facts on the ground”. I agree, before the present round of negotiations began, the Israelis said settlement building would continue [most nations in the world regard this as a war crime] the Palestinians for whatever reason had to go along with this charade [the US probably twisted their arms] however, since what the Israelis are doing is a war crime while negotiations continue, why could the Palestinians not say if you continue with your war crimes, we will do what any normal person [state] would do in those circumstances, 1/ formally sign up to the ICC and report the crime, and 2/ Apply to join all the UN Agencies, which as a recognized state at the UN they are entitled to do, and then say ‘of course we will only do 1 and 2 if you continue building’. To my mind doing 1 and 2 is not even resisting, it is logical, proportionate and legal and puts the Israelis on notice. What’s happened is the crimes continue and the Palestinians refuse to act, which indicates my comment above has a ring of truth to it.

      • James Canning
        September 15, 2013, 7:24 pm

        @HarryLaw – – I support full UN membership for Palestine. Am not sure about benefits of criminal prosecution. I think the penalty that hundreds of thousands of Jews find themselves living under Palestinian rule might prompt some departures.

  3. fnlevit
    September 11, 2013, 3:56 pm

    The above timeline misses to mention several key elements. I will note three of them
    1. Israel (on Sharon initiative) unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. Complete withdrawal, dismantling all the settlements. The result – more than 8000 missiles on South Israel civilians, Israeli and Egyptian blockade and two Israeli operations to try to stop the missiles.

    2. Israel (under Barak initiative) completely withdrew from the security zone Israel was enforcing in Lebanon. Barak was very careful to withdraw to the line which UN improved. The withdrawl brought Hezbollah to “sit on the border fence” with Israel, ambush IDF patrols, highjacking sodiers. It accumulated 80.000 missiles, shooting them at Israeli civilians. All this resulted in TWO WARS with Lebanon/Hezobollah.

    3. Israel (via its prime minister Ehud Almert) has offered PA essentially 100% of the WB territory and safe passage to Gaza. Below are the references and the map. Abbas refused/did not respond.

    Here is Almert’s account :

    link to camera.org

    In 2008, after extensive talks, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and presented a comprehensive peace plan. Olmert’s plan would have annexed the major Israeli settlements to Israel and in return given equivalent Israeli territory to the Palestinians, and would have divided Jerusalem.

    Numerous settlements including Ofra, Elon Moreh, Beit El and Kiryat Arba would have been evacuated, and Hebron would have been abandoned. Tens of thousands of settlers would have been uprooted. Olmert even says preliminary agreement had been reached with Abbas on refugees and the Palestinian claim to a “right of return.”

    Olmert recounted much of this in an interview with Greg Sheridan in the Australian newspaper:

    link to theaustralian.com.au

    From the end of 2006 until the end of 2008 I think I met with Abu Mazen more often than any Israeli leader has ever met any Arab leader. I met him more than 35 times. They were intense, serious negotiations.

    On the 16th of September, 2008, I presented him (Abbas) with a comprehensive plan. It was based on the following principles.

    One, there would be a territorial solution to the conflict on the basis of the 1967 borders with minor modifications on both sides. Israel will claim part of the West Bank where there have been demographic changes over the last 40 years…

    And four, there were security issues. [Olmert says he showed Abbas a map, which embodied all these plans. Abbas wanted to take the map away. Olmert agreed, so long as they both signed the map. It was, from Olmert's point of view, a final offer, not a basis for future negotiation. But Abbas could not commit. Instead, he said he would come with experts the next day.]

    He (Abbas) promised me the next day his adviser would come. But the next day Saeb Erekat rang my adviser and said we forgot we are going to Amman today, let’s make it next week. I never saw him again. (Nov. 28, 2009)

    Abbas, in an interview with Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post, confirmed the outlines of the Olmert offer and that he turned it down:
    link to washingtonpost.com

    In our meeting Wednesday, Abbas acknowledged that Olmert had shown him a map proposing a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank — though he complained that the Israeli leader refused to give him a copy of the plan. He confirmed that Olmert “accepted the principle” of the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees — something no previous Israeli prime minister had done — and offered to resettle thousands in Israel. In all, Olmert’s peace offer was more generous to the Palestinians than either that of Bush or Bill Clinton; it’s almost impossible to imagine Obama, or any Israeli government, going further.

    Abbas turned it down. “The gaps were wide,” he said. (May 29, 2009)

    • kayq
      September 11, 2013, 9:10 pm

      Everybody knows that Abbas is nothing but a stooge for the State of Israel. He is bringing about the destruction of Palestinian self-determination in order to pursure self-interests.

    • Elliot
      September 11, 2013, 10:28 pm

      1. Israel (on Sharon initiative) unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. Complete withdrawal, dismantling all the settlements. The result – more than 8000 missiles on South Israel civilians, Israeli and Egyptian blockade and two Israeli operations to try to stop the missiles.

      Israel went from occupying the prison block to putting the Gaza Strip in lockdown.
      In response to Israel’s dismantling of its illegal colonies, you expect the Gazans to be eternally grateful and kowtow to their masters.
      Good luck with that.

      • fnlevit
        September 12, 2013, 7:36 am

        Please stop with all those superficialities. Look at what happened between us and Egypt. We withdraw from 60.000 sq. km just for the piece of paper called peace agreement. The withdrawl was in stages plus they agreed to the demilitarized Sinai. What happened then? They wanted to maintained the peace as badly as we and it holds. If Hamas would really wanted to have peace with us they would know how. And no need to “kowtow to their master” nonsence. Egyptians never liked us too much but did not attack us either. IT WAS NOT IN THEIR INTERESTS. This is the key element. TRUE INTEREST IN PEACE. Cold peace is better than war. It was apparently in Hamas INTERESTS to maintain hostilities along the border with us. They launched missiles, highjacked Gilad Shalit, etc. They probably got money from Iran or thought they will or could not contain their more extreme elements. Whatever. The point is that they did not. The result – missing opportunity, escalation with Gaza but more importantly (together with Hezbolah actions in Levanon) this led Israeli electorate to a total disbelief in any perspective of the peace. So Bibi was reelected and the left parties lost the support etc, etc. Our conclusion – piece is not in their INTERESTS. At least for now. What to do? Presevere untill it will be in their interests and then BELIEVE ME we will agree to almost anything to live in peace.

      • talknic
        September 13, 2013, 10:58 pm

        @ fnlevit

        “Look at what happened between us and Egypt. We withdraw from 60.000 sq. km just for the piece of paper called peace agreement. The withdrawl was in stages plus they agreed to the demilitarized Sinai. What happened then? They wanted to maintained the peace as badly as we and it holds. “

        LOL Oxymoronically contradictory. By your own words it WASN’T just for the piece of paper called a peace agreement. It was withdrawal from all territory sovereign to Egypt for peace.

        “If Hamas would really wanted to have peace with us they would know how. “

        Indeed. As with Israel and Egypt, where Israel was first required to withdraw before peaceful relations were assumed, you have read it .. yes? link to wp.me Israel must first withdraw from all non-Israeli territory before peaceful relations are assumed.

        “Egyptians never liked us too much but did not attack us either. IT WAS NOT IN THEIR INTERESTS. This is the key element.”

        Nothing to do with Israel withdrawing from all Egyptian territory? Amazing how you can ignore the main criteria in the Peace Treaty

        “It was apparently in Hamas INTERESTS to maintain hostilities along the border with us”

        It’s an Armistice Demarcation Line not a border link to wp.me It is inadmissible to acquire territory by war link to pages.citebite.com , Israel has never legally annexed any territory link to wp.me and Israel has never withdrawn to its actual borders link to wp.me

        Here, I’ll fill in the bits you’re required by the wholly holey moldy olde Hasbara to omit … “They launched missiles” … while Israel occupies, regularly bombs and regularly makes military incursions into non-Israeli Palestinian territory … “highjacked Gilad Shalit, etc” … soldiers are legally captured, not hijacked which is illegal. They’re held as POW’s, also legal. Often given back in a trade off … “They probably got money from Iran or thought they will” … It’s not illegal to get monetary support or support in arms from an ally, especially if one is under belligerent occupation. What they probably or thought they will get, is microscopic compared to the billions upon billions Israel gets in Military Aid from the US … “or could not contain their more extreme elements. Whatever. The point is that they did not.” … consecutive extreme Israeli governments have for 65 years encouraged Israeli citizens to break International Law, the UN Charter and GC IV by illegally settling in non-Israeli territory. Consecutive extreme Israeli Government could have adhered to International Law, the UN Charter and GC IV, they did not. Consecutive extreme Israeli Governments could have ended the occupation, they did not. Consecutive extreme Israeli Governments could have stopped illegally acquiring non-Israeli territory, they did not. Consecutive extreme Israeli Governments could have stopped illegal facts on the ground, they did not. Consecutive extreme Israeli Governments missed the opportunity for peace time and time again … ” The result – missing opportunity” … what opportunity? Israel has never ended its occupation of non-Israeli territory … The Zionist Organization, Jewish Agency and consecutive extreme Israeli Governments are the one’s who’ve destroyed all opportunities for both peoples link to wp.me” escalation with Gaza” … while Israel has escalated the ‘severity’ of it’s incursions into Gaza illegal facts on the ground with more illegal settlements elsewhere, reduced fishing ability in the waters off of Gaza, controls Gaza’s airspace and through the 2005 agreement with Egypt controls all of Gaza’s crossings …

        “but more importantly (together with Hezbolah actions in Levanon) “

        The parts you purposefully miss are of equal if not more importance. Israel covets other folks territory, which is against the basic tenets of Judaism, i.e., a sin. The punishment … no peace! Very simple and something every honest Jew should easily understand

        “this led Israeli electorate to a total disbelief in any perspective of the peace.”

        With all that relevant information missing from Israel’s holey propaganda no wonder…

        “Our conclusion – piece is not in their INTERESTS.” …. LOL a subconscious typo?

        “What to do? Presevere …” … LOL another even more ‘severe’ subconscious typo?

        “.. BELIEVE ME we will agree to almost anything to live in peace”

        Israel could have had peace had it adhered to its own borders 65 years ago. Israel could have had peace had ended occupation 65 years ago link to mfa.gov.il Israel could have had peace had withdrawn from all non-Israeli territories 65 years ago. It refused.

        Now after carefully building illegal facts on the ground for 65 years, the Jewish state cannot financially afford to adhere to its own borders, cannot financially afford to adhere to the law, cannot financially afford to withdraw from all non-Israeli territories, it would be sent bankrupt for decades. Instead it must either illegally force the Palestinians out or plea bargain with them to forgo their legal rights. But as we have seen by Israel’s past behaviour link to wp.me that will likely never be enough. It is one very very sick little puppy.

      • James Canning
        September 12, 2013, 2:37 pm

        Additonal point: Israel continued to grow the illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank.

  4. DICKERSON3870
    September 11, 2013, 9:11 pm

    RE: “WHY DID OSLO FAIL? ~ IMEU

    REGARDING OSLO’S DEMISE, ALSO SEE – “Oslo 20 years later: The origins and dangers of ‘security zones'”, By Shemuel Meir, +972blog, 9/03/13
    How Israel succeeded in diluting the implementation of the Oslo Accords through a combination of hypothetical worst-case military scenarios and the misleading and incorrect attribution of the term ‘security zones’ to diplomatic texts.
    LINK – link to 972mag.com

    P.S. Fare thee well, Saul Landau. You will be missed! ! !

  5. just
    September 13, 2013, 7:44 am

    Avi Shlaim:

    “Controversy surrounded Oslo from the moment it saw the light of day. The 21 October 1993 issue of the London Review of Books ran two articles; Edward Said put the case against in the first. He called the agreement “an instrument of Palestinian surrender, a Palestinian Versailles”, arguing that it set aside international legality and compromised the fundamental national rights of the Palestinian people. It could not advance genuine Palestinian self-determination because that meant freedom, sovereignty, and equality, rather than perpetual subservience to Israel.

    In my own article I put the case for Oslo. I believed that it would set in motion a gradual but irreversible process of Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories and that it would pave the way to Palestinian statehood. From today’s perspective, 20 years on, it is clear that Said was right in his analysis and I was wrong.

    In 2000 the Oslo peace process broke down following the failure of the Camp David summit and the outbreak of the second intifada. Why? Israelis claim that the Palestinians made a strategic choice to return to violence and consequently there was no Palestinian partner for peace. As I see it, Palestinian violence was a contributory factor, but not the main cause. The fundamental reason was that Israel reneged on its side of the deal.

    Sadly, the Jewish fanatic who assassinated Rabin in 1995 achieved his broader aim of derailing the peace train. In 1996 the rightwing Likud returned to power under the leadership of Binyamin Netanyahu. He made no effort to conceal his deep antagonism to Oslo, denouncing it as incompatible with Israel’s right to security and with the historic right of the Jewish people to the whole land of Israel. And he spent his first three years as PM in a largely successful attempt to arrest, undermine, and subvert the accords concluded by his Labour predecessors.

    Particularly destructive of the peace project was the policy of expanding Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. These settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a huge obstacle to peace. Building civilian settlements beyond the Green Line does not violate the letter of the Oslo accords but it most decidedly violates its spirit. As a result of settlement expansion the area available for a Palestinian state has been steadily shrinking to the point where a two-state solution is barely conceivable.

    The so-called security barrier that Israel has been building on the West Bank since 2002 further encroaches on Palestinian land. Land-grabbing and peace-making do not go together: it is one or the other. Oslo is essentially a land-for-peace deal. By expanding settlements all Israeli governments, Labour as well as Likud, contributed massively to its breakdown.

    The rate of settlement growth in the West Bank and Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem is staggering. At the end of 1993 there were 115,700 Israeli settlers in the occupied territories. Their number doubled during the following decade.

    Today the number of Israeli settlers on the West Bank exceeds 350,000. There are an additional 300,000 Jews living in settlements across the pre-1967 border in East Jerusalem. Thousands more settlement homes are planned or under construction. Despite his best efforts, John Kerry, the US secretary of state, failed to get the Netanyahu government to accept a settlement freeze as a precondition for renewing the peace talks suspended in 2010. As long as Netanyahu remains in power, it is a safe bet that no breakthrough will be achieved in the new round of talks. He is the procrastinator par excellence, the double-faced prime minister who pretends to negotiate the partition of the pizza while continuing to gobble it up.

    The Oslo accords had many faults, chief of which was the failure to proscribe settlement expansion while peace talks were in progress. But the agreement was not doomed to failure from the start, as its critics allege. Oslo faltered and eventually broke down because Likud-led governments negotiated in bad faith. This turned the much-vaunted peace process into a charade. In fact, it was worse than a charade: it provided Israel with just the cover it was looking for to continue to pursue with impunity its illegal and aggressive colonial project on the West Bank.”

    link to theguardian.com

    • seafoid
      September 13, 2013, 8:35 am

      Edward Said’s article was on the money

      link to lrb.co.uk

      “Lastly there is the confusing matter of relationships between Israelis and Palestinians who believe in self-determination for two peoples, mutually and equally. Celebrations are premature and, for far too many Israeli and non-Israeli Jews, an easy way out of the enormous disparities that remain. Our peoples are already too bound up with each other in conflict and a shared history of persecution for an American-style pow-wow to heal the wounds and open the way forward. There is still a victim and a victimiser. But there can be solidarity in struggling to end the inequities, and for Israelis in pressuring their government to end the occupation, the expropriation and the settlements. The Palestinians, after all, have very little left to give. The common battle against poverty, injustice and militarism must now be joined seriously, and without the ritual demands for psychological security for Israelis – who if they don’t have it now, never will. More than anything else, this will show whether the symbolic handshake is going to be a first step towards reconciliation and real peace.”

      Israel just went deeper into nihilism in the meantime. Who is going to unfuck it ?

      • Walid
        September 13, 2013, 9:24 am

        “The Palestinians, after all, have very little left to give. ” (E.Said)

        Those words are from 20 years ago, nonetheless, Israel still succeeded in taking most of that little that was left back then. It’s that insatiable appetite for other people’s land.

    • fnlevit
      September 13, 2013, 11:02 am

      As always with anti-Israeli “hasbara” – there is a missing piece which changes the whole picture. I know. I lived through that. We (great majority of us in Israel) were jubilant over Oslo and Rabin’s great hopes to end this conflict.

      Then the Jewish fanatic assassinated Rabin in 1995. And this was the shock for the country and caused such an indignation against all the right wing parties that many analysits predicted that the Labor party under SHIMON PERES who stepped in for Rabin will continue to govern for many many years. Shimon Peres – the old, clever politician who was the key figure and if I am not mistaken shared the Nobel Price for peace for the Oslo agreement. And yet just one year after he lost to the Likud and Nataniahu. Nataniahu!!! This noone. How could this happened? Well all you have to do is to look at the list of suicide bombings – see the list copied below and in awful details in
      link to en.wikipedia.org
      The terrible ’94, ’95 and ’96 bombing of of buses full of passengers or in the middle of a shopping center etc changed completely the Israeli electorat (and me among it) and gave Nataniahu and the right their victory.
      This is not all I have to say but Yom Kipur is on us – I will post after…

      Contents
      1989 (1 attack)

      2.1 1993 (2 bombings)
      2.2 1994 (5 bombings)
      2.3 1995 (4 bombings)
      2.4 1996 (4 bombings)
      2.5 1997 (3 bombings)
      2.6 1998 (2 bombings)
      2.7 1999 (2 bombings)

      3 2000s 3.1 2000 (5 bombings)
      3.2 2001 (40 bombings)
      3.3 2002 (47 bombings)
      3.4 2003 (23 bombings)
      3.5 2004 (17 bombings)
      3.6 2005 (9 bombings)
      3.7 2006 (3 bombings)
      3.8 2007 (1 bombing)
      3.9 2008 (2 bombings)

      • American
        September 14, 2013, 5:56 pm

        ”How could this happened? Well all you have to do is to look at the list of suicide bombings – see the list copied below and in awful details in”..fnlevit

        Read my lips……..Get Off Their Land.
        Are Israelis so retarded they cant add 2+2 — that ‘stealing land and resources + ‘occupation =’s bombings and retaliations?
        Who do you think you are to believe that other people must lay down and let you roll over them without striking back?
        Even in the USA after 911 there was a huge portion of the population that understood the US’s own actions and policies had provoked that attack on civilians, even as we condemned the attack, we understood the reasons behind it.
        You better start thinking differently.

  6. just
    September 13, 2013, 9:25 am

    Edward Said (RIP) was prescient. An incredible human with an incredible and deep understanding of the vast inequities visited upon the Palestinian people by Israel (and the US). The blame for failure to achieve peace has always been assigned to the Palestinians by Israel and the US (Bill Clinton should be and forever remain ashamed for targeting & blaming Yasser Arafat after Camp David……..). Yet what is crystal clear is that no Israeli government could or can ever be trusted, I do not believe that they ever wanted peace with the Palestinians. I ask “where is the Israeli Gandhi”!??? No matter what the Palestinians do/ do not do– neither Israel nor the US gives them any credit– ever! Instead, the punishment continues.

    “Two books published in 2004 placed the blame for the failure of the summit on Arafat. They were The Missing Peace by longtime US Middle East envoy Dennis Ross and My Life by Clinton. Clinton wrote that Arafat once complimented Clinton by telling him, “You are a great man.” Clinton responded, “I am not a great man. I am a failure, and you made me one.”[31] During a lecture in Australia, Ross suggested that the reason for the failure was Arafat’s unwillingness to sign a final deal with Israel that would close the door on any of the Palestinians’ maximum demands, particularly the right of return. Ross claimed that what Arafat really wanted was “a one-state solution. Not independent, adjacent Israeli and Palestinian states, but a single Arab state encompassing all of Historic Palestine”.[32]”
    (wiki)

    I also appreciate what Mr. Said wrote: “The common battle against poverty, injustice and militarism must now be joined seriously, and without the ritual demands for psychological security for Israelis – who if they don’t have it now, never will.”

    Those “ritual demands for psychological security for Israelis” never, ever included any physical or psychological security for the Palestinian people– NEVER. Instead Israel continues its horrible abuse of the indigenous people of Palestine– a people under Occupation and under protection of international law that Israel flouts with impunity.

    As for your question seafoid– I have no idea really. I think it may come if, and only if, the US comes clean and stops its arrogant enabling of this belligerent and cruel state that is perfecting Apartheid.

  7. Walid
    September 13, 2013, 9:28 am

    Edward Said was proven right.

    • seafoid
      September 13, 2013, 4:34 pm

      He was indeed. Israel probably couldn’t have done anything any differently. It has been run by damaged people for a very long time.

      And Israelis have normalized the abuses of the occupation- it would be impossible for them not to, to understand that their country is such a systematic abuser. “Jews wouldn’t do that™”. I’m sure when it all collapses we’ll hear how non conformist Jews in Israel were silenced and made to comply with the thinking of the majority.

  8. fnlevit
    September 14, 2013, 2:17 pm

    Some people on this blog seem to be totally confused with the history.
    1. If something is “a standard talking point of Hasbara” it does not mean it is wrong. Anti-Israeli propaganda on the other hand typically omits few important details in describing Israeli actions so that they appear just cruel. Checkpoints is a good example. No reference to the reasons of why does IDF have to waste its fairly limited resources to man and manage the checkpoints instead of training and exercising.
    2. Insisting on the “colonization” interpretation of Israel is projecting European guilty feelings on others. Jews lived there for centuries and many Jews returned to their homeland. To colonize they could go to Argentina or Australia or Canada, etc. Many went. Many went to US. Those who went to Palestine returned home. And they did it under the initial formal approval of the British and the League of Nations. And in fact the world applauded them – just recall the 1958 novel and 1960 classic movie Exodus.
    link to google.co.il
    3. Another group of people claimed the same territory as their home – the Palestinians. Some lived there many more came roughly at the time when Jews began to return. Very simply Jews brought prosperity which attracted immigration from neighboring territories.
    4. The resolution of the conflict between the two national groups was the UN partition plan. Which Israel accepted but Palestinians did not. Arab Liberation (Salvation) Army was formed and was joined by Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq army units. A quote from the famed R. Kennedy reports in Boston Post
    link to lennybendavid.com
    “When I was in Tel Aviv the Jews informed the British government that 600 Iraqi troops were going to cross into Palestine from Trans-Jordan by the Allenby Bridge on a certain date and requested the British take appropriate action to prevent this passage. The troops passed unmolested…
    And …..miracle, miracle – the war ended with an unexpected Israeli victory and what is now called ’67 borders. The Judea and Samaria were occupied by Jordanians who seem to be the ones who gave this area the name West Bank.
    5. To reiterate – Palestinians and Arab states started the war and LOST. Loosing war of aggression must have a price. Remember – this was just after WW2. Germany lost – Germany paid. Territorially. Nobody demands that Russia returns Konigsberg to Germany. Or Poland returns Danzig. Japanese lost – Japanese paid. Kuril islands and Sakhalin are Russians now. Also nobody demand that British withdraw from Australia or Spanish and Italians from Argentine. Or Americans from the native Americans’ lands. Just stop all this nonsense.
    6. As a result of the 1948 was two groups of refugees appeared. Again a quote
    Between 600,000 and 760,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from the area that became Israel and they became Palestinian refugees. The war and the creation of Israel also triggered the Jewish exodus from Arab lands. In the three years following the war, about 700,000 Jews immigrated to Israel..”
    7. Arab countries did not accept their defeat.
    8. Fast forward to ’67. Another war initiated by Arab states, another defeat. As a result Israel occupied Sinai, Golan Heights and the West Bank.
    9. IMPORTANT – a few days after the war ended Israel offered to withdraw to ’67 borders in return for peace. What was the Arab countries response? – the Khartoum Arab League Resolution with “what became known as the “Three No’s”: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.”
    10. After another failure in ’73 war Yom Kippur Egypt decided that enough is enough and made peace with Israel. Israel withdraw to ’67 border which Egypt finally recognized.
    11. West Bank agreement is a complicated issue. For Palestinians it is the right of return. For us – the settlements. At the end Palestinians will not get RoR but compensation and we will have to dismantle many settlements and compensate with territory for the rest. That was essentially Almert proposal to Aby Masen which he rejected

    • Woody Tanaka
      September 14, 2013, 4:14 pm

      And as this post demonstrates, standard hasbara talking points are usually lies. All you people do is lie, it seems.

    • RoHa
      September 14, 2013, 11:53 pm

      “Insisting on the “colonization” interpretation of Israel is projecting European guilty feelings on others. Jews lived there for centuries and many Jews returned to their homeland. … Those who went to Palestine returned home.”

      Total bollocks. Palestinian Arab Jews lived there for centuries. Polish and German Jews didn’t, so those European invaders were not returning to their homeland.

      If you want to say that the Jewish religion makes it their homeland, then the Christian religion makes it the homeland of Welsh Christians. And Arab Christians, for that matter.

      If you want to say some sort of “ethnic” connection with the ancient Jews makes it the homeland of modern Jews, then the same sort of “ethnic” connection makes it the homeland of modern Arabs in general and modern Palestinians in particular.

      ” And in fact the world applauded them”

      No it didn’t. Only some people applauded.

      ” just recall the 1958 novel and 1960 classic movie Exodus.”

      Gee! An American novel and an American film. That’s proof for you.

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