By Dr. Steven Plaut

There is a fundamental hypothesis upon which the entire Oslo "peace process" is founded. Without "The Hypothesis", the entire argument in favor of Oslo collapses completely. If The Hypothesis can be shown to hold, Oslo supporters have a case.The Hypothesis holds that once Palestinian Arabs gain self-rule and are no longer under Israeli military rule, their Nazi-like hatred of Jews, their xenophobia and fanatic savagery, will dissolve and dissipate.

The Hypothesis holds that the underlying cause of the hatred and xenophobia is psychological and hurt egos. Once the Palestinians have their pride restored and are freed from the daily indignities of Israeli rule, they will have no reason any longer to despise Jews. They will be overwhelmed with ego gratification. They will be freed in a catharsis of self-rule. They will stop hating and murdering Jews because the underlying "cause" of that hatred is not congenital Anti-Semitism but the wounds and indignities of "occupation".

There is not a single supporter of Oslo in Israel or abroad who does not hold to The Hypothesis in one way or another or who does not base his belief in the ultimate positive results of the "peace process" upon The Hypothesis. Strangely, many supporters of Oslo insist they do not trust Ararat or the PLO as far as they can spit, but still insist they support Oslo. If asked, they will explain that they believe in The Hypothesis.

What happens if The Hypothesis is wrong? In that case, all the psycho-catharsis, the massaged egos, all the psychobabble leads to nothing. In that case, Israel withdraws to the 1949 borders, but Arab xenophobia and Palestinian savagery and hatred of Jews continues undiminished. If anything, it might be strengthened, as the Jews will be seen to be "on the run" and vulnerable in their diminished border. A new war that could succeed in throwing them into the sea. So everything, absolutely everything, depends on how correct The Hypothesis is. Now any scientist would say that if one is not certain about how correct any hypothesis is, go out and test it. The very best way to test The Hypothesis upon which Oslo is totally based is to leave Jewish settlers in the Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank and Gaza.

Why is that? The Hypothesis holds that the genocidal hatred of Jews by Palestinians will diminish and dissipate as they gain independence. They will cease attempting to murder every Jewish man, woman and child they see. They will live in harmony with their Jewish neighbors once they are freed from Israeli political and military rule. Well, the best way imaginable to put this Hypothesis to the test is with the "settlers". In areas where the PLO rules, the "settlers" are powerless neighbors, who clearly cannot be seen by Palestinians as symbols of their "occupation." Their "Occupation" there no longer exists!

If The Hypothesis is correct, what better place to test to see if the healed pride and massaged egos of Palestinian self-ruled Arabs lead to denazification? Accordingly, the very last thing that Israel should do is to evict Jewish settlers from areas being turned over to the PLO. If evicted, there can be no test of The Hypothesis. As we speak, the Likud government is forming plans to evict the 400 Jews who live in Hebron before Hebron is evacuated and turned over to the PLO. And to do so the government is arresting without trial and suspending habeas corpus for "Rightists" suspected of trying to disrupt the withdrawal.

Now if The Hypothesis is correct, the expulsion of these 400 is absurd and unnecessary. Surely 100,000 self-ruling Hebron Arabs have nothing to fear from 400 powerless Jews, just as the Arabs of Nablus have never feared the handful of Samaritans that live amongst them. What better way to test to see if the Hebron Arabs greet their Jewish neighbors with flowers and bread and salt? With Arab pride restored, why should this not happen?

The answer of course is that even supporters of Oslo do not really believe in The Hypothesis not even for a second. They know that - step-by-step - as Israel withdraws and the Palestinians gain more power, independence and territory, not only are they not behaving according to The Hypothesis, but rather with increasing hatred and violence. In contrast with The Hypothesis, not only can Jews not enter peacefully the "liberated" areas of Palestinian self-rule, but Jews are automatically in danger of being lynched or worse. Jews who have made wrong turns off roads in Palestinian villages have been literally torched to death. Every day brings new proof that proud psycho-healed self-ruling Palestinians not only hate the Jews all the more so, but their appetite for murder and terror has been whetted by Israel's withdrawals and concessions. Poll after poll shows the vast majority of liberated Palestinians supporting suicide bombings and other atrocities against Jews.

Each and every step in Oslo to date has shown The Hypothesis to be false and groundless. So how can anyone still believe that the falsified Hypothesis will suddenly kick in and operate after the next round of concessions and withdrawals? The Labor government obviously knew it was not working, and this is why it advocated "separation", the Labor version of apartheid, where Palestinians are prevented from getting close to Jews (by walls and barriers) lest they lynch and murder them. "Separation" advocacy is equivalent to conceding that The Hypothesis is nonsense. But if The Hypothesis is nonsense, then all of Oslo is a sham and needs to be abandoned at once.

The most difficult thing to explain is the refusal of the Likud government to put The Hypothesis to a real test. The Likud supposedly rejected The Hypothesis all along. But now the Netanyahu government is set to deny the Israeli public a wonderful test of it in Hebron, by evicting its few Jewish residents. True, the Hebron Arabs complain that they have built up resentments toward the Jewish settlers there, whom they accuse of hubris. All the more reason to test The Hypothesis in Hebron!! If The Hypothesis is correct, what better way to convince us all and set our fears to rest?

In the name of both science and Jewish survival, put The Hypothesis to a real test, to a series of real tests, and do it now, before another single concession is made to our "peace partners"!!


Dr. Steven Plaut teaches economics at the University of Haifa.