From Oslo to Brexit, can Raab learn lessons of past?

Raab became the lead Brexit manager of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet this week after David Davis resigned on Sunday.

July 12, 2018 04:10
1 minute read.
Britain's newly appointed Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab leaves 10 Downing Street in London

Britain's newly appointed Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab leaves 10 Downing Street in Westminster, London, Britain, July 9, 2018.. (photo credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS)


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The new Brexit secretary Dominic Raab spent the summer of 1998 studying the Israel-Palestinian conflict at Bir Zeit University and worked for a Palestinian negotiator of the Oslo peace process.

“At the time, hopes for peace were still tantalizingly high, culminating in the Camp David negotiations in 2000 that came within a whisker of ending the 50-year conflict,” he wrote in 2010.

Raab became the lead Brexit manager of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet this week after David Davis resigned on Sunday. With foreign secretary Boris Johnson leaving and May’s government teetering, he now holds unusual influence and power regarding the UK’s relationship with the EU and the world.

In 1998, he witnessed Palestinians raise their hands in support of driving “Israelis into the sea,” he noted in the 2010 piece. He criticized Yasser Arafat for having “done little to sell the deal,” he says of the Palestinian Authority’s failure to articulate Oslo to Palestinians.

“The average Palestinian I met had far more direct experience of Arafat’s venal regime than Israeli brutality,” he wrote. “The university lecturer quipped that he had been imprisoned by the Israelis, but tortured by the Palestinian Authority – a fact that fueled the rise of Hamas on a ticket of honest government, welfare for the needy and wiping Israel off the map.”

A member of the Conservative Party, Raab is the son of a Czech Jewish father who fled the Nazis, according to the Jewish Chronicle. In April he told the Sunday Times that his father fled Czechoslovakia in 1938.

Raab attended Oxford and was a lawyer before rising to his current position. He began working for the Foreign Office in 2000. He was first elected to Parliament representing Esher and Walton in Surrey in 2010.

His former experience with the failed Oslo Accords provide Raab with a unique insight into the stalled Brexit process that is now at risk of failure. Johnson warned that the UK risks becoming the “status of a colony” if May continues with her current approach to the EU.

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