Harry W. Freeman (1886-1959), of blessed memory, was my grandfather, mentor and, the namesake for the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies .....Bernard J. Shapiro
I met Harry W. Freeman when I was a small boy. He visited my house on Arbor Street when the "Discussion Group" met on Sunday evenings. My father and Mr. Freeman, both of blessed memory, were members and participants in the discussion group, along with professor Joseph Werlin and four or five others. Obviously, I was not "included" in that group. I could hear from my bedroom upstairs (there was no air conditioning, and the windows were open,) some loud talking, and, probably, even some arguments.
I do not know which participant was taking any position, and even if I did, I am certain that I could not have comprehended the contents of any particular point of view. My father had a very high regard for Mr. Freeman. He would tell me that Mr. Freeman enjoyed an outstanding reputation as a lawyer and legal scholar. My father was also a lawyer by training, even though he was employed by a bank at that time.
A lawyer, when he (or she) is retained by a client, drafts documents and contracts to effectuate a sale of a product, a business, or of real estate. The document, if properly drafted, should provide for a closing, the conditions of the transfer, enforcement provisions in the event that one party attempts to repudiate the contract, and also for penalties and other remedies in the event of noncompliance. I am confident that any client who retained Mr. Freeman benefitted from his expertise and knowledge of the law, and that the client was well protected in event of a breach by the other party.
I have never seen published the terms and conditions of Oslo I or Oslo II. I can only speculate as to what these signed agreements contain. I understand that "notes for the record" as well as addendum exist in order to either clarify or to mislead anyone who attempts to define the terms and conditions of the original documents.
Bits and pieces of Oslo I and Oslo II are finally coming out. When Yassir Arafat declares that he will proclaim a Palestinian State in May of 1999, indicates to me that he is free to do so. It indicates to me that in the event that a final document has not been completed and signed by May of 1999, that Oslo I and Oslo II are dissolved. The parties remain in place. Terrorism can be resumed, an army with unlimited weapons including nuclear weapons can be placed in the newly created Palestinian State. Troops from Hizbollah, Syria, Iraq, Iran1 the Sudan, or wherever can be brought in for the final push to the sea, and the "liberation" of Jaffa Haifa, and Jerusalem. There is no turning back the clock to August of 1993, prior to Oslo I, and no return of Yassir Arafat to Tunisia.
May of 1999, is only one year away. The more territory that the PLO can squeeze out of Israel during that time, with the help and support ofMr. Clinton and Ms. Albright, will result in fewer casualties to the PLO for the final push to the Mediterranean Sea. The additional territory which is brought under PLO control will also improve the logistics for the Arab side. Shoulder-held SAM missiles can reach airplanes taking of f and landing at Ben Gurion airport. The "push" to the sea can be made much easier around Natanya in order to bisect Israel at its narrow "waist."
What is there to require the PLO to bargain in good faith at the final talks to be held prior to May of 1999? The PLO will demand all of Jerusalem, withdrawal of all settlements from across the "green line, " the return of at least three million Palestinian refugees, that Israel become demilitarized, and that Israel will not receive any water from the aquifers on the "West Bank" or from the Yarmuk river tributary flowing into Lake Kinneret and the Jordan River. I am sure that Mrs. Hanan Ashwari can come up with other "favorable" terms and conditions to put in the "final settlement."
The Israeli Prime Minister will receive a summons to the White House, and President Clinton will demand that Israel sign whatever Mrs. Ashwari puts into the final settlement. If Israel refuses to sign, Israel will be branded as intransigent and as an obstacle to peace. Many American Jewish leaders repeatedly refer to Oslo I and Oslo II as a "done deal." It is not a "deal" at all. There are so many loopholes, ambiguities, uncertainties, "loose ends," and open-ended terms and conditions that it is not binding.
Mr. Harry Freeman would have never put a client in such a precarious legal position. He covered the basic points of a transaction and did not leave the transaction "open" for either party to act as they pleased in the future, when the transaction became effective. The time has come for an explanation to the American people, and, in particular, to American Jews that the drafters of Oslo I and Oslo II failed to insert in these "agreements" explicit terms and conditions so as to qualify these documents as a binding contract.
Johnny Weintraub is a prominent attorney in Houston, Texas and member of the advisory committee of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.