Clausewitz said that war is politics by other means. Oslo has demonstrated that "peace" is nothing more than war by other means, at least when Arabs are involved.
The latest twist to the Oslo nightmare, and the direction Oslo will be taking over the next 2 years or so, is "talks over the final settlement". The idea is this: Israel and the PLO will hold talks for a once-and-for-all all-encompassing peace settlement that will put an end to the conflict and resolve all remaining issues of contention in one swoop. Once this final settlement is reached, there will remain nothing at all over which Arabs and Jews will fight.
Clearly the cost to Israel will be huge, as Israel will be thought to be making the last and largest installment payment for Arab-Israeli peace. But unlike the previous "partial Oslos" and the "meter ticks"(pi-imot in Hebrew), this deal will be the Mother of All Accords. It will not be a goodwill gesture nor a stage along the path of negotiations. It will be the climactic last act, the denouement.
The cost to Israel of buying this is obviously a return to its 1949 borders or something very close to them and the granting of control over East Jerusalem to the PLO. The initiative to dive into "final settlement talks" first came from Yossi Beilin Meretz and the rest of the Israeli Far Left. Now the Likud has taken up the banner and the Netanyahu game plan is now to dive in to the Final Settlement Talks wading pool. Netanyhau and the Likud are tossing out to the media various "leaked" versions of their ideas for the Final Accord, now being termed Allon Plan Plus", named after the proposal by Labor's Yigal Allon from the 1970s.
The usual busybodies and do-gooders around the world are also endorsing the Final Settlement Accord strategy, where the step-by-step surrenders by Israel are replaced by one wopping all-encompassing quantum surrender, one that will - so they claim - put an end to the Middle East conflict. Clinton is on this bandwagon. And even some from whom one might expect more have joined in, such as Peter Rodman (a senior editor at National Review) writing in the spring 1997 National Interest.
The "thinking" here is that no matter how much Israel has to give up to achieve this final accord, it will be the last word in the conflict. Thereafter peace will prevail. Israel gets to keep anything it is left with forever. The Arabs sign away the war option and must make do with whatever they get. The era of Arab-Jewish conflict will be closed and non-reopenable.
Now having witnessed the incredible detachment from reality of the Israeli political establishment over the past 4 years, having realized that Netanyahu is as devoted to Osloizing his way into history books as Peres, having realized that so many Israelis have locked themselves inside a bubble of delusion and denial, it is still incredible to me that such notions are being bandied about the world without Israelis dismissing them out of hand as ludicrous.
And since the fatalistic determination of the politicians of Israel to lead the country to self-destruction seems so unstoppable at times as to appear divinely dictated, it behooves us to go on record with a description of what exactly will occur after the Grand Negotiated Final Oslo III Accord. So that no one can claim they were not foretold.
Having signed the last ultimate all-encompassing grand final Oslo Accord that settles all residual conflicts and problems, having bought itself an expensive peace with the PLO fascists, weeks after the White House ceremony in which the Final Accord is signed and shortly after Netanyahu gets his Nobel Prize and Arafat gets his second, the real nature of the Final Settlement will become apparent. Having ended the conflict once and for all for all time in the Accord, the PLO will soon demand that Israel enter into new negotiations to resolve the new conflicts between Israel and the Arabs. The PLO will demand additional territories within pre-1967 Israel, such as Nazareth, parts of the Galilee and the Negev. The PLO will demand to represent Israel's Sudetenized Arab citizens in any conflicts they have with the state.The PLO will demand reparations and water. It will demand Israeli disarmament. It will demand an end to Israel's Law of Return. These demands will be accompanied by a wave of terrorist atrocities of unprecedented dimensions.
And the PLO will be backed in these demands by the European Union, Japan, Egypt, the Democrats, Jordan, and the Diaspora Jewish Left. The Israeli Left will also "understand" the PLO's position. The 1949 borders will be taken as Israel's opening negotiating position, not the borders capable of preserving peace. The entire world will demand thatIsrael make further concessions to rescue the Oslo Final Settlement Accord that ended the Middle East conflict once and for all. For without further Israeli concessions, the peace won so dearly will be lost and war break out. And history will rename the OSLO III Final Settlement Accord as the Final Solution II.
Dr. Steven E. Plaut teaches at the Graduate School of Business, University of Haifa. He may be reached by E-Mail: RSEC792@UVM.HAIFA.AC.IL