Tuesday, December 17, 2002

The real mistake
Says Ami Isseroff on MidEastWeb’s new blog: “It is one thing to view the Oslo accords from the perspective of those who believe in peace and equality for two nations, and to say, "this way did not work." It is quite different to begin with the idea that Palestinians or Jews do not deserve self determination, work very hard to make the Oslo agreements fail, and then when they do fail, say "You see, I told you so!"”

How do I feel about that? Well, I partially agree with it. Looking around, most people I know who say the Oslo Accords were a dangerous mistake, never believed in them from the start. People like me, who supported them but have been forced to admit that they have failed dismally, usually think we were right to have tried.

However, I believe it wasn’t the disbelievers on either side who finally derailed the peace train. It was Arafat, by refusing to accept the Camp David offers and not only failing to crush the terror war, but, according to credible sources, actually instigating it.

I think that to suggest that those who always believed that Oslo was a terrible mistake do not “believe in peace and equality for two nations” is an unfair generalization. Many of those Jews who opposed Oslo (I can’t speak for Palestinians) certainly do not think Palestinians “do not deserve self-determination”. They believe, however, that the Palestinians cannot be trusted and will use any independence given to them to further the goal of being rid of the Zionist entity. Sadly, they seem to have been right about that.

We wanted so much to prove wrong the disbelievers on our side. But another thing they said was that Arafat was not a reliable partner. Right again. That was both our mistake AND the Palestinians’ mistake. If the local Palestinians had had the guts to go without the Tunisian leadership, it’s much more likely we would have got on just fine. But they didn’t and couldn’t. We’re all paying the price.

I hope that in my lifetime, we will see a Palestinian leadership we can trust, and then, I hope, we can learn from our experience and (this time) slowly, carefully and sensitively, attempt again to learn to live in peace with the Palestinians.

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