Oslo and Other Policy Conundrums

By Bernard J. Shapiro

Nothing has bothered me more than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's constant reaffirmation of the Oslo Agreement and his stated intention to honor its provisions. As we have reported in this publication, in many learned articles, the Oslo Accord will result in the destruction of the Jewish state. Why then does the new Israeli government continue to promise compliance. I have no doubt about Bibi's dedication to Israel, Zionism, and the Jewish people. Being puzzled and confused by this seeming inappropriate policy, I recently questioned a friend close to the Likud. Why is Bibi doing this, I asked anxiously?

"We must live up to Oslo -- it is a signed agreement," said my friend.

I am surprised at your answer, I replied. Your response on Oslo sounds like the fairy tale refrains: "Land for Peace" or "The New Middle East." There is NO historical basis for nations living up to "signed agreements" one minute beyond the point at which they serve their national interests. For Example: 1. Egypt's agreements with Israel at Camp David 2. Dozens of treaties by the US with Native Americans 3. The Armistice Agreements with Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan in 1949. 4. The Munich "Peace in Our Time" of 1938. 5.The North Korean Treaty in 1953. 6. The US agreement (1957) to protect Israeli shipping to Eilat 7. The US-North Viet Nam Treaty protecting independence of South Viet Nam. 8. And finally, over 100 agreements signed by Arafat with other Arab countries. I could go on but you get the picture.

The proper historical context relating to treaties and signed agreements was provided by Professor Paul Eidelberg of Bar-Ilan University"

Between 1945 and 1978 the longest time without a war going on someplace was a mere 26 days. On an average day there are 12 wars being fought somewhere on earth. The consensus of scholars has been that the norm of international relations is not peace but war. As Eidelberg reports, "Indeed, the occurrence of 1,000 wars during the last 2,500 years indicates that "peace" is little more than a preparation for war. Which means that peace treaties are WORTHLESS, to say the least."

Eidelberg then quotes from a book by Lawrence Beilenson, entitled THE TREATY TRAP, saying, "After studying every peace treaty going back to early Roman times, Beilenson concludes that treaties are made to be broken. In fact, he shows that treaties for guaranteeing the territorial integrity of a nation are useless to the guaranteed nation, and worse than useless insofar as they engender a false sense of security. Such treaties can only benefit nations governed by rulers intending to violate them whenever expedient."

THE BOTTOM LINE: If Bibi wants to follow Oslo for Public Relations reasons, that is one thing. I hope he doesn't fall into the trap of believing (what he says) that "signed agreements" have some intrinsic value like "TORAH." There is a very real danger that the constant repetition of statements that he will "live up to signed agreements" will tend to create a dynamic of it own.

My friend replied: "Once an elected PM of Israel signed Oslo 2, Oslo became a valid agreement that Israel has to honor. I am not saying that it is a GOOD agreement; it is terrible, but valid. Regarding the legality of an agreement signed with terrorists -- if the world had protested Oslo, that would be one thing. But, the world and Israel did not protest at the time -- you cannot after signing go back and say 'it is invalid. Arafat is a terrorist. It is too late../...' The whole purpose of agreements is for nations to honor them even when in the short term it is not in their interest to do so. My point is that when nations sign agreements they are expected to honor them for better or for worse. Obviously, Oslo is not a good agreement -- but it is already fact. The trick is to make it work as best as possible../..."

I replied: You have never answered my central point that: "nations historically do not comply with agreements that are no longer in their national interests."
1. For discussion sake, let's say Oslo is "legal"
2. You and Bibi both agree it is BAD agreement for Israel
3. Therefore: Why should Israel comply, when other nations would not think twice about renouncing a bad agreement

Some have argued that Israel must act on the basis of a HIGHER moral or legal standard. While Jews generally like to think of themselves as superior, in practice this creates a DOUBLE STANDARD. During the intifada we saw how quickly the application of a double standard to Israeli behavior becomes anti-Semitism and a focal point for anti-Israel media coverage. I believe that Israel has the same right as other nations to violate treaties and agreements that cease to be in their national interest.

Zvi, an Israeli friend of mine, had this to add to our dialogue on Oslo: "Oslo should be portrayed both in Israel and here as an illegitimate agreement which was conceived by illegal actions of the former government, which has led to tremendous bloodshed and which, in the long run, endangers Israel's security. It shouldn't bind the present government or at least they should not state it repeatedly because by doing so they will tie their hands and they will never be able to get out of it../..."

THE BEST POLICY: Gradually move away from the Oslo Agreements; mention them less and less; and blame Arafat for their collapse. By all means stop investing in them any undeserved legitimacy.


The Freeman Center and its members are outraged by the continued imprisonment and abuse of Jonathan Pollard, who has sacrificed a great part of his life in defense of Israel. That he was put in such a terrible of dilemma of having to spy on his country in order to save Jewish lives is a tragedy. His actions did not happen in a vacuum as you will read in my article, PERFIDY, reprinted in this issue. We call on the Israeli government to do everything it can to free Pollard. We agree that Pollard violated the law and should accept punishment. On the other hand, based on the prison sentences of other persons convicted of spying for our allies, his sentence was quite excessive. Pollard never meant to harm American security, and in fact, didn't. In other words, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, it is time for Israel to demand an end to this shameful affair.


The Freeman Center expresses its outrage and condemnation at the recent incidents of terrorism directed at American and Israelis. Terrorism is not an act of nature../...it can be controlled and prevented. Unfortunately the US has not taken the steps necessery to combat it on an international scale. This would invlove more than cosmetic sanctions against the terrorist nations of Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lbya, and Sudan.

In a recent report to the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the US Congress on terrorism, Yossef Bodansky, the Freeman Center's World Terrorism Analyst, had the following to say:

"The bomb that killed, wounded or blinded hundreds of us servicement in Saudi Arabia was the work of several monlths involving many groups with ties to radical states, above all Iran." He told the congressmen on the Task Force: "We must keep our eye on the big picture. We are dealing with a long term state sponsored grand strategy, with a huge and extremely sophisticated and costly operation. It is not just costly in cash but in high quality personnel--training system that is geared to bring about, to implement this long term strategy. The main issue is not running after perpetrators of one action or another--not that we should not do that and bring them to justice one way or another. But we should deal with the sponsoring state, and we should make sure they do not do that. We should preempt and prevent."

Mr. Bodansky said the bombing is part of an unfolding process designed to force the United States out of the Persian Gulf and install an Iranian backed regime in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore the terrorist network stretching across the Muslim world is ready to strike in America. The infratructure is in place. Tehehran will give the signal, though how and when can only be guessed. He named a multimillionaire Suudi Arabian, Usama Bin Ladin, now in Afganistan, as chief organizer othe the terrorist network.


During the last four years, many in the Israeli consular corp in America have distinguished themseves as purveyors of misinformation and as proponents of censorship, blacklisting and interference in the American Jewish community. Many are still in place in Israeli consulates all across the US. They are working to sabotage the new policies of the Netanyahu government and are continuing a policy blacklisting the American Jews who opposed the suicidal policies of the previous government. THIS MUST STOP! As difficult as this may seem, those guilty members of the foreign service must be removed from American consulates by dismissal or re-location to some distant post where they can do no more harm.


Netanyahu has spoken and written very clearly about the rights of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount. Yet a few days ago, on Tisha b'Av, Israeli police forcibly prevented Jews from exercising the basic human right to pray at their Holiest Place. The reason was to prevent a riot by Moslems. In my view the proper function of Israeli police is to prevent violence, not to appease it. We support the Jewish right to pray at any place in Israel and we will be watching the new Israeli government's commitment to protecting the religious rights of all faiths, including Jews.

The Mount returned to Israeli hands as a result of the Six Day War liberation of Jerusalem. In an act of great stupidity, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, a few days latter, gave control of the Temple Mount to Moslem religious leaders. His reasoning was that this would prevent panic among the newly defeated Arab population. He also made great efforts to prevent Arabs from fleeing to Jordan. Today, as these same Arabs plot our demise, we realize how mistaken his policies were.

I learned from history how Moslem conquerors built mosques on top of the Holy Places of other peoples in every part of the world. They did it to humiliate and degrade their subject nations. There is no reason the sovereign State of Israel, needs to allow this desecration Jewish Holy Places to continue. Today on the Mount, the Arabs are supreme. They are destroying all archaeological remnants of Jewish sites. They are storing weapons in their mosques to kill Jews. They have built a museum to Palestinian nationalism, including gut-wrenching pictures from the battles of Sabra and Shatila. Tourists from the world over are told Jews committed these killings (It was Christians).

While I am not competent to discuss Halacha with reference to the Mount, I do know that it is wrong for us to allow the Arab desecration of our people's most Holy Site. I also believe that Jews have the right to pray at all of their Holy Sites, including the Temple Mount. What about the consequences of our asserting our rights to the Temple Mount? Can the Moslem world hate us any more?


It is past time to free the Jews being held under administrative detention orders, carried over from the previous Israeli government. They were being held because of their political beliefs. Such orders, while an abuse of judicial power when used against Jews, are necessary in dealing with Arab terrorism. Also, the deportation of Jews from Israel because of their political beliefs is outrageous and a violation all Jewish principles. There should be no need to debate this issue as the correct course for Bibi is obvious

../..../..../..../..../..../..../..../..../..../..../..../..../..Bernard J. Shapiro, Editor

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