Reading a prominent think tank’s latest proposal for a new Israeli peace initiative reminded me of that timeworn adage: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
The new proposal, crafted by the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, claims that Israel could win over the next U.S. administration by preemptively putting forth a plan that would trade Israeli territorial concessions for “an end to Palestinian incitement, BDS efforts and support for terrorists.”
Are they kidding us? Is it possible that they really do not know that the Palestinian Arab leadership already made those exact same promises, in writing, 27 years ago? Do they really think it makes sense for Israel to now surrender even more territory in exchange for literally the same promises?
For those who have forgotten, here’s what the Palestinian-Arab leadership previously agreed to in the September 1995 Oslo II Agreement:
Incitement: Article XXII requires the Palestinian Authority “to foster mutual understanding and tolerance” with Israel, “to abstain from incitement, including hostile propaganda” against Israel, and to “take legal measures to prevent such incitement by any organizations, groups, or individuals within their jurisdiction.”
BDS: The term “BDS” (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) did not exist at the time of the Oslo accords, but the concept of normal, friendly relations—as opposed to organizing international boycotts—is the entire premise of the agreements. It’s the entire premise of peace between two opponents. The preamble to Oslo II states that the purpose of the accords is “to put an end to decades of confrontation and to live in peaceful coexistence, mutual dignity and security.”
Support for Terrorists: Article XV obligates the Palestinian Authority to “prevent acts of terrorism” and “take legal measures against offenders.” Annex I, Article II, (1)(b) requires the P.A. police to “act systematically against all expressions of violence and terror”; (1)(d) requires it to “arrest and prosecute individuals who are suspected of perpetrating acts of violence and terror”; (3)(b) requires it to “actively prevent incitement to violence”; and (3)(d) requires it to “apprehend, investigate and prosecute perpetrators and all other persons directly or indirectly involvement in acts of terrorism, violence and incitement.”
In addition, Annex IV, Article 2 (7)(b) and (7)(f)(1) states that if Israel requests it, the P.A. “shall effect the arrest and transfer requested” to Israel of any “individual suspected of, charged with, or conceited of, an offense that falls within Israeli criminal jurisdiction.”
How could any of that possibly be more explicit?
Oslo said that the P.A. has to stop inciting against Israel. It has to maintain normal, friendly relations with Israel. It has to disarm and arrest terrorists and extradite them to Israel.
Obviously, for the past 27 years, the P.A. has continued inciting against Israel, in its media and schools and everywhere else; it has promoted BDS boycotts of Israel instead of friendly relations; and it has not disarmed or outlawed terrorist groups, imprisoned terrorists or honored any of Israel’s dozens of extradition requests.
Yet now, the think-tank crowd wants Israel to hand over even more territory—land which is vital for Israel’s security—in exchange for the P.A. making the same worthless promises.
Is this what they mean by the term “peace process”? Do they seriously think that the “peace process” should consist of Israel giving up additional land for previously-made promises, waiting a few years, then giving up more land, and then a few more years and giving up more, and on and on, until Israel has nothing left to give?
I understand that many people have short memories. And I guess that applies as well to some people who are paid to think about Israel-Palestinian matters. But that’s no excuse for the never-ending stream of proposals, plans and initiatives, all of which are based on the equivalent of amnesia.
The P.A.’s obligations have been spelled out in black and white in the Oslo agreements. If those obligations are not taken seriously, then the agreements have no meaning. If the Palestinians’ obligations are overlooked or forgotten or dismissed, what is the point of Israel signing any agreement, ever?
Stephen M. Flatow is a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of the book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror.”