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View Diary: 'We Want the Whole World To Know About Us' (213 comments)

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  •  I think aA's correct (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattes

    as Shlomo Ben-Ami says, when Israel continued building settlements after Oslo, it was violating the "spirit" but not the letter of the agreement.

    What that shows, of course, is that Oslo had nothing to do with peace. It had to do with legitimising the occupation, and was fairly successful in that regard. Unfortunately for the Israeli leadership, Arafat blew it at the last minute by refusing to accept a bantustan leadership.

    •  Oh, I'm just talking about Oslo, btw (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't realise you meant all previous agreements.

    •  Thank you for the first paragraph. (0+ / 0-)

      As to the second paragraph:

      • To say that "Oslo had nothing to do with peace" is flat-out wrong. The parties undoubtedly misjudged the situation and did not sufficiently guard against the possibility that assassinating Rabin would end up with Netanyahu as prime minister. But it would require much more evidence then I think is available to show that the parties were not aiming at peace.

      • I'm not sure what you mean by "the last minute." As I explain in The Myth of the "Myth of the Generous Offer", the last minute was when Arafat rejected the Clinton Peace Parameters. No Bantustans there:

      Cllinton Peace Plan Map - Ben-Ami

      Al Gore should be president.

      by another American on Sat May 12, 2007 at 02:23:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oslo was not about peace (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        umkahlil

        It was about giving Arafat the semblances of power in exchange for him becoming Israel's "enforcer" in the territories. That's why Oslo made no mention of Palestinian self-determination, nothing about removing settlements, etc. etc. Israel's attitude towards Oslo was demonstrated in the seven years which followed, when the settler population almost doubled. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo-Ben Ami was accurate when he described Oslo as "founded on a neo-colonialist basis, on a life of dependence of one on the other forever." As Meron Benvenisti, the extremely well respected Israeli political analyst and former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, said (.pdf),

        "The occupation continued [after Oslo], albeit by remote control, and with the consent of the Palestinian people, represented by their "sole representative", the PLO."

        Turning again to Shlomo Ben-Ami, he described quite candidly in a debate on Democracy Now! how Israel saw Oslo:

        "Well, the Oslo peace process was an agreement — it started as an agreement between two unequal partners. Arafat conceived Oslo as a way, not necessarily to reach a settlement, but more importantly to him at that particular moment, in order to come back to the territories and control the politics of the Palestinian family. Don’t forget that the Intifada, to which Oslo brought an end, started independently of the P.L.O. leadership, and he saw how he was losing control of the destiny of the Palestinians. His only way to get back to the territories was through an agreement with Israel. So in Oslo, he made enormous concessions.

        In fact, when he was negotiating in Oslo with us, an official Palestinian delegation [led by Haydar ‘Abd al-Shafi] was negotiating with an official Israeli delegation in Washington, and the official Palestinian delegation was asking the right things from the viewpoint of the Palestinians — self-determination, right of return, end of occupation, all the necessary arguments — whereas Arafat in Oslo reached an agreement that didn’t even mention the right of self-determination for the Palestinians, doesn’t even mention the need of the Israelis to put an end to settlements. If the Israelis, after Oslo, continued expansion of settlements, they were violating the spirit of Oslo, not the letter of Oslo. There is nothing in the Oslo agreement that says that Israelis cannot build settlements. So this was the cheap agreement that Arafat sold, precisely because he wanted to come back to the territories and control the politics of Palestine."

        So that's how Israel saw Olso. It was an attempt to cultivate a Palestinian leadership that would legitimise the occupation. Ultimately, Arafat failed at the last moment by rejecting the bantustan solution presented at Camp David.

        As to the Clinton Parameters - as I say, both sides entered reservations. Taba was the only real significant breakthrough in Israeli rejectionism, but it was called off by Barak.

        •  If one reads Ben-Ami's book, and I (0+ / 0-)

          have just reviewed my notes of the pages concerning Oslo, I think a fair summary of his opinion would be that Arafat's primary concern was not achieving peace but rather avoiding oblivion and Rabin, while interested in peace, was adopting a new approach only after having concluded that all the other plausible ones had failed.

          Ben-Ami, perhaps rightly, believes that Oslo's failures were written in its "genetic code." I'm inclined to think that a live Rabin could have made Oslo a success, if it turned out that Arafat truly wanted peace. But, haval, we'll never know.

          But the bottom line remains: to say that Oslo had nothing to do with, or was not at all about, peace, is an over-statement.

          Al Gore should be president.

          by another American on Sat May 12, 2007 at 02:59:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, I disagree (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sofia, umkahlil

            I think Oslo, from the Israeli side, was simply an attempt - and a fairly successful one - to legitimise the occupation, recruit Arafat as an "enforcer" in the Territories and give it the room to continue expanding settlements.

            In any event, it is possible to disagree about what Oslo meant. But we can't disagree about what happened - namely, Israel, in the years following Oslo, expanded settlements, built entirely new settlements and almost doubled the number of settlers. I think that's a pretty clear indication of how committed Israel was to peace.

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