Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of November 15, 2000

OSLO -A CONCEPT THAT FAILED

By Nomi Blumenthal

With the debris barely cleared from the recent car bomb attack in Jerusalem's Mahaneh Yehuda neighborhood, Palestinian terror struck again this week, with deadly results. As the cycle of bloodshed continues and escalates, so the bankruptcy of the policy of Ehud Barak's government becomes ever more starkly apparent.

The aggression directed at Israel is the outcome of the long process of submission, self-abnegation and surrender initiated at Oslo.The policies pursued by the current government have brought this process to new depths. The disorderly retreat from southern Lebanon, the indecent haste to part with key sites of national importance in return for baseless declarations expressed at Camp David, the issuing of empty ultimatums in response to continued violence, all may be seen as milestones in the process of the drastic reduction of Israel's deterrent power.

Occasional high-profile acts of counter-terror, such as that seen in Beit Sahur last week, are to be welcomed, but cannot substitute for a firm, consistent, across-the-board policy. The shameful maneuvering on the domestic political front have made it crystal clear that national unity, a real coming together of the main national forces in the face of the external threat, is of no interest to this prime minister. What he wants is to shore up his coalition, by all means necessary, and thus buy more time for the continuation of the policy of surrender.

At this moment of real national emergency, the unity of the people of Israel is of utmost importance. That unity exists, and is in evidence throughout the country, in the determination of the communities under attack to stand firm - from Gilo to Psagot, from Netzarim to Mahaneh Yehuda. That this unity has not found political expression is Barak's responsibility.

At a key, testing moment in our history, our prime minister chose to busy himself with sordid political shenanigans, conducted with the intention of propping up a dying government. The current function of the coalition, now surviving only by means of artificial respiration, is to enable the diplomatic to-ing and fro-ing intended to breathe life into a dead idea. Thus, the extensive, unprecedented concessions offered at Camp David apparently remain the basis for discussion between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The old, tired slogans calling for "putting the process back on track" are being dusted off yet again, in an attempt to paper over the irreparable damage inflicted on the illusions of the past seven years by the chaos and carnage of recent weeks.

ALL THIS WILL prove quite futile. With all due respect to the prime minister's instincts for political survival, the simple reality of the situation will no longer be denied. At such a moment, what is needed is a basic revision in thinking. The mistaken concepts of the past decade must be replaced by a clear-eyed, sane response to the dangers and possibilities inherent in Israel's situation.

For the duration of the emergency, the government will find the opposition firmly behind it regarding the preservation of security of Israel's citizens. But if the government prefers to ignore the calls for a firm, unified stance, if it wishes to continue, instead, to kneel to aggression, then the national camp's responsibility would be to set in motion the vital debate over what must replace the failed Oslo experiment.

The events of the last weeks have shown the dangers inherent in a policy of unreciprocated concessions. They have also shown the underlying firmness and strength of Israeli society. The nation has divested itself of illusions, and is now calling for a return to realism. Such realism would take the form of the cessation of further retreats before the Palestinian Authority, which has shown that it has no interest in putting an end to the conflict, and which thus sees all concessions as an invitation to further demands.

The unity and determination of the public in the face of the recent aggression indicate that they are unlikely to be deceived again.

(c) Jerusalem Post 2000

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Nomi Blumenthal is a Likud MK.

 


 

QUOTE OF THE DECADE

Stop being afraid. There is no danger that these guns will be used against us. The purpose of this ammunition for the Palestinian police is to be used in their vigilant fight against the Hamas. They won't dream of using it against us, since they know very well that if they use these guns against us once, at that moment the Oslo Accord will be annulled and the IDF will return to all the places that have been given to them. The Oslo Accord, despite what the opposition claims, is not irrevocable."

---Yitzchak Rabin (after signing of the Gaza-Jericho Agreement in 1994)



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