Five year after Oslo, Arafat breaks every vow of peace, demanding that Netanyahu honor Israel's half of the moribund Oslo Accords, Netanyahu sends his men to timidly negotiate with the insistence of Bill Clinton - who is desperately in need of a foreign policy victory, no matter what the cost.
In Europe there's an old saying: "When a Jew is spit upon, he looks up and says it's raining." Fear and timidity go hand in glove. Is Arafat deliberately spitting on Netanyahu and the Jewish people? Of course, he is. Are the Jews of Israel cowed by President Clinton and EU (European Union) pressure? Of course, they are. Timidity surrounds the Prime Minister even as his spokesmen, once staunch defenders of the land of Israel, act as apologists for his embarrassing response to being spit upon by Arafat.
Even as successive Israeli governments genuflect to American and European pressure, each concession is treated with greater contempt and generates increasing demands with expectations for more. Even as Israel bows to American Arabists pressure by sneaking an to additional 3-5% Arafat in addition to the 10% already conceded verbally. This "3%" is going to be creatively called a "nature reserve". Everyone knows Netanyahu caved and now it's just a matter of selling it to the Israeli public with the right spin. Who could have imagined Netanyahu joining Rabin, Peres and Beilin as the fourth who will be known for undercutting the State, sending it plunging headlong into oblivion?
Arafat and his cohorts have deliberately broken the Oslo and Hebron Agreements so many times that the Jews are now deep into their well-known state of denial and joke telling. Among Jews, when times are bad, they compensate with dark sardonic humor. Netanyahu, in response to each egregious action of breaking Oslo/Hevron Agreements, has just as many times shown this timidity which only encourages Arafat to ask for the impossible - and get it.
Meanwhile, the Arabs sit in their coffee houses telling jokes about the men of Labor and Likud not having to unzip when going to the bathroom. In Arab society comparing a man to a weak woman is as insulting as they can make it. They hate Israeli fighters but, at least, they respect them.
Timidity is and remains the "foreign policy" of both Labor and now Likud. When, on numerous occasions Arafat broke the Oslo/Hebron Accords, Israel should have declared Oslo null and void. Then, when and if there are future discussions, it would not be under that unspeakably bad, poorly contrived piece of paper, written by the aberrant, incompetent Left. It would be a new instrument without the craven fawning and the vast give-aways for nothing. It would be negotiated with brains, good sense and consultation with military and security experts who were absent during the Oslo and Hebron negotiations.
As a reluctant aside, the dimwits of Labor negotiated the giving away of 30% of Israel's water under Judea and Samaria. The Palestinians have already illegally drilled 2000 wells in Gaza, causing salinization of the local aquifer. Israel is also supplying Gaza with approximately 5 million cubic meters of water, even though the Oslo Accords do not require Israel to do so. The World Bank estimates that in the next 35 years the nations of the world will be fighting for fresh water. The amateurs of Oslo did not factor the water issue into their give-aways. In a 5 year period since they have controled Gaza and the 7 cities in Judea and Samaria, the Palestinians have destroyed the aquifer under Gaza by over drilling and pouring untreated sewage into surrounding valleys and streams.
Let us call a halt to Oslo with the full recognition that, even as bad and weak as it was, even those terms were broken by Arafat. If necessary, let a new draft be negotiated, incorporating solutions for everything that has failed up to now. Then stick to the lines of the Agreement and stop any process the moment the Agreement is broken. But, even with a new agreement, Arafat cannot be allowed to hold all of the things he won by cheating and treachery in the old Agreement.
Nothing in any clause of the Oslo or Hebron Accords has been observed by the Palestinians.
*The excess policemen, now estimated conservatively as 63,000, must be dismissed.
*The excess weapons must be turned in - especially the anti-tank, anti-aircraft missiles, the Kalashnikovs, grenades, bombs, explosives, etc.
*The killing PLO Covenant must be abandoned and not merely in a tricky way to avoid having the full Palestinian National Council of 500 vote, which is the only legal way the Covenant can be amended or canceled.
*Palestinian Terrorism must be stopped.
*Palestinians known to have killed Jews must be remanded over to Israeli courts.
*The avalanche of car thefts and other robberies by Palestinians must cease.
*The incitement in the mosques for Palestinians to kill Jews must cease.
*The Palestinians school curricula (grade, high and college) and the Palestinians TV must be changed from incitement to kill Jews. There is more, but you get the idea.
Israel and her leaders must shake free of their timidity because no one respects an abject coward as a person or a State. Even as they do what they are told from fear, they win no points from their victimizers. They just stamp harder in their jackboots. Bibi and his government have footprints all over their backs while President Clinton assists Arafat in any way possible.
A humorous but depressing joke applies to Israel's relationship with America: Two fighters are in the ring and one is being badly beaten. The bell rings and the fighters go back to their corners. The trainer of the badly beaten fighter tells him that he is doing terrific. The fighter responds saying: "Well, you better keep an eye on the referee because someone is beating the h... out of me."
Clinton, Madame Albright and their gaggle of Jewish Arabists are playing the role of referee except they have placed their bets on Arafat. Israel is being beaten in terms of world opinion and yet the Jewish leadership still tries to bribe these Jew haters with good deeds and reckless accommodations to Arafat with no reciprocity. For Jews, the world remains a dangerous neighborhood. Clearly, Israel will not gain the approval of the nations until she is dead and then exhibits to her memory can be placed in institutions and museums as the extinct tribe of the Jews to whom humanity owes so much.
Bibi, cease the timidity; it buys us nothing. Cancel Oslo for cause and demand a new agreement. So...what would be some of the corrective therapy for the corpse of Oslo? The answer is, of course, to bury the corpse and start fresh. Israel must have absolute reciprocity in practice and not political speeches demanding, asking, begging for Arafat to even keep up a pretense of keeping the Agreement.
Emanuel A. Winston is a Middle East analyst and commentator and a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies. Email: email@example.com