View From The Hills: ‘Signs’ that Oslo has failed

Sign in Gush Etzion reads: “This road leads to a Palestinian village. Entrance for Israeli citizens is dangerous.”

Settlement Sign 370 (photo credit: Josh Hasten)
Settlement Sign 370
(photo credit: Josh Hasten)
The large red sign with white lettering in Hebrew, Arabic and English at the entrance to the Arab village just off Route 367 in Gush Etzion reads: “This road leads to a Palestinian village. Entrance for Israeli citizens is dangerous.”
Over the past decade, I have seen many red signs along the roads leading toward Arab villages throughout Judea and Samaria warning that entering Area A, which is under complete Palestinian control, is illegal under Israeli law.
But this was the first time I had seen wording indicating that should an Israeli accidentally make a wrong turn – or perhaps intentionally venture out in search of cheaper construction materials, or auto body parts – that such actions could cost them their lives.
No, this new sign was not put up by the PA to keep Jews out, but by our own security officials.
One could argue that due to the realities of the situation on the ground between Israel and the PA, where history has proven that a wrong turn can lead to murder (the two IDF reservists who were lynched after erroneously winding up in Ramallah during the second intifada being the ultimate example) is that Israel has no choice but to do the responsible thing and put up these signs.
But this warning, and the countless other security initiatives, specifically those which are defensive in nature, undertaken by Israel over the past nearly 20 years solidify one simple fact: Oslo has failed.
Before that historic 1993 agreement on the White House lawn, while perhaps Jews and Palestinians were not the best of friends, at least there existed some degree of daily interaction and respectful coexistence.
For example, it was not usual for the residents of Gush Katif and the western Negev to shop in the markets of Gaza City. In addition, there was no need for the various “bypass” roads, as often the main route to reach communities in Judea and Samaria was through Arab cities.
We didn’t have military checkpoints; approximately 500 km. of security fence including the adjacent patrol roads; or the worry of differentiating between areas “A,” “B,” or “C.” And of course, we didn’t have daily shootings on the roads, which began thanks to our policy of arming our peace partners, who instead turned their weapons on Jewish motorists.
But it’s not just the residents of Judea and Samaria that have been exposed to the dangers brought about by Oslo. In Sderot and throughout the western Negev, while there are no visible red warning signs indicating that simply going outside can cost you your life, instead a blaring and nearly daily “Code Red” alert indicates residents that rockets, mortars or missiles are in-bound, forcing them to seek shelter or risk death.
And what was our response to the attacks in the South? Israel spent nearly NIS 500 million to fortify all private homes and places of public gathering including schools within 4.5 km. of Gaza.
Just this week, the government allocated yet another security blanket – NIS 270 million toward fortifying the homes (and public buildings) of those who live between 4.5 km. and 7 km. of Gaza.
And of course for those under fire further out in major cities like Beersheba or Ashkelon, our answer is the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
And let’s not forget about the 240-km. fence along the Egyptian border under construction to prevent terrorists or migrant workers from entering the country.
But are the fences, shelters, anti-missile systems, etc., appropriate responses? Perhaps they are necessary – but these are not solutions, merely Band-Aids; holding things together in the short-term without addressing our true longterm security threats.
12,000 rockets landing in the South, and an entire generation of traumatized Israeli children is simply inexcusable. Having to fear for your life if you enter Area A in the historical Jewish heartland while at the same time Arabs are free to shop in Jewish supermarkets, farm their land and walk the paths of Area C with their heads held high is unacceptable.
It’s time to admit once and for all that Oslo has failed. It’s time for our leaders to implement offensive policies that eliminate the terror threats against us.
When that happens, it will also be time to take down that sign.