Yitzhak Rabin’s legacy: The Oslo Accords

Serving in the IDF is considered an honor and members of the CIS fought in combat units; some are considered heroes – which is why most Israelis don’t understand the danger they pose.

December 25, 2018 01:44
‘THEIR LEGACY, however, is not only a “peace process” that failed, the Oslo Accords.

‘THEIR LEGACY, however, is not only a “peace process” that failed, the Oslo Accords, but a policy which enabled and encouraged enemies dedicated to Israel’s destruction.’. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Why do former and retired senior IDF officers and security heads, such as Commanders for Israel’s Security (CIS), who know what the PLO, Fatah, Hamas and other terrorist organizations have done and are capable of doing nevertheless advocate Israel’s withdrawal from Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”), destroying Jewish communities, and establishing a sovereign Palestinian state – the “two-state solution (TSS)?”

Although considered “security experts,” they seem to have learned nothing during the last 30 years of appeasement and surrender. Because of the high esteem in which Israelis regard the IDF, however, it is often protected from criticism. Serving in the IDF is considered an honor and members of the CIS fought in combat units; some are considered heroes – which is why most Israelis don’t understand the danger they pose.

They are not stupid; they have access to the best security information available. They know that Palestinian groups are working with ISIS, and Iranian-backed Hezbollah and Hamas to destroy Israel and carry out hit-and-run terrorist attacks. They understand that Arabs and Palestinians have no intention of accepting Israel. They know the dangers that a Palestinian state presents to Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Why do they support it?

The CIS group is not alone. It is supported by left-wing organizations in Israel, such as the INSS, a think-tank composed of former IDF officers and security heads connected to Tel Aviv University and the Peres Center for Peace. They are part of the military/political establishment that promoted the Oslo Accords – which rehabilitated and legitimized Palestinian nationalism and gave Fatah and the PLO control of most of Judea and Samaria under the Palestinian Authority, and implemented the 2005 “Disengagement” – unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip which empowered Hamas and other Jihadist Islamist terrorist groups.

Although it is inconceivable that any Israel government would adopt their agenda, and despite being overwhelmingly rejected by Jewish Israeli voters, groups like the CIS and INSS serve to keep the TSS alive. Worse, they promote the canard that Israel is “occupying (and persecuting) Palestinians” – accusations which are used by foes of Israel and Jews. Yet, they propose that Israel’s future and its claim of self-determination depends on giving Arab Palestinians a state.

They know why every Israel effort to make peace with Palestinians has failed. They know the Palestinian chants, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” They know about the “Nakba” and the PLO and Hamas charters which call for Israel’s destruction. They are aware of the hate propaganda taught in Palestinian schools and in the media. Why, then, would they promote an agenda (the TSS) which is a danger to Israel?

The answer is complicated. First, it is based on fear; fear of being ostracized and condemned by the international community, especially by the UN and European countries; fear that their left-wing ideology and the political parties which represent it are weak and no longer relevant; and, fear of the increasing power and influence of religious Zionism. Raised and educated in secular socialist and communist kibbutzim and left-wing institutions, their world-view is at risk.

The second reason the Left supports the TSS is guilt, a sense of moral conscience. They know that Israel won its War of Independence in 1948/9 and acquired additional land, that Zionism places Jewish nationalism above Arab Palestinian nationalism, that Israel took what Arabs believe is their exclusive homeland.

In this world-view, paradoxically, the stronger Israel is (compared to Arabs), the more it is guilty for being superior; Zionism prevents any real national equality. This also explains why some Jewish Israelis oppose the Nation-State Law. Asserting Jewish/Israeli nationalism diminishes all other competitors. The more we wave our flag, the less wind is in theirs. Our success is their failure.

Israelis are proud of what Zionism has accomplished, but for Arabs it only reinforces their sense of inferiority. Our “Start-up Nation” is, for them, a form of oppression. Our victories are their defeats. We are, therefore, responsible for their suffering. The Oslo Accords was an attempt to re-balance, to compensate Arabs for Israel’s victories in the Six Day War and the War of Independence as well.

Although these were wars of survival and self-defense, Arabs and some Jews cannot forgive Israel for winning. And we are reminded of our guilt by the international community, especially by organizations such as UNRWA, UNHRC and UNESCO, by calls for “Justice for Palestinians,” and “end the occupation.” Leftists argue that evacuating Jews and withdrawing from Judea and Samaria, and establishing a Palestinian state would absolve Israel of its guilt. For many, the Palestinian victim narrative evokes empathy and compassion. They ignore, however, what Israel’s enemies call its “original sin:” that it exists. 

Jewish Leftists are not necessarily anti-Israel or anti-Zionist. They believe that they are saving Israel from itself, from its current “right-wing” leadership, especially from those who assert Jewish nationalism, and especially the settlement movement. The main struggle, as they see it, is not with the Arabs, who can be defeated militarily and/or co-opted, but with religious Zionism which is based on the growing settlement movement. That’s why they call for preventing Jews from building homes and communities in the heartland of the Jewish people, Judea and Samaria, or at least to contain their expansion.

This is what Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres sought to achieve in the Oslo Accords. Their legacy, however, is not only a “peace process” that failed, the Oslo Accords, but a policy which enabled and encouraged enemies dedicated to Israel’s destruction. Remembering Rabin’s assassination should not obscure the harmful consequences of his mistaken decisions and the reasons he failed. Ironically, the Oslo Accords which were meant to demonstrate Israel’s strength in its willingness to make concessions for peace is the symbol of Israeli weakness. It is based on the belief that not only Israel cannot win, but that it should not win. That is the path of confusion, despair and defeat.

The author is a PhD historian, writer and journalist living in Israel.

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