Translated and reprinted from Ha'aretz of September 10, 1999
ON SHARM DEAL:
ADDING INSULT TO INJURY
By Nadav Shragai
For the sixth time since the Oslo agreement, Yasser Arafat is selling the same merchandise to an Israeli prime minister, the fourth since Yitzhak Rabin. Just as he did in Oslo 1 and 2 and in the Cairo, Hebron and Wye agreements, Arafat is committing to "full implementation of the agreements reached with Israel since September 1993," yet once again the anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian Authority (PA) media continues unabated: expressions of hate, delegitimization and traditional anti-Semitic blood libels, as well as denials - in terminology, maps and official educational materials - of the very existence of the state of Israel. The latest innovation of this hate campaign involves specifically calling on Israeli Arabs, "the Palestinians on the inside," to renounce their Israeli nationality and replace it with an independent Palestinian identity. In other words, a foreign authority is encouraging approximately 20 percent of the country's citizens to transfer their loyalty to it. This on-going incitement is not the only thing that has not changed. The buffer zones which the Palestinians committed to establishing in Hebron, a key part of the agreement there, never materialized. Nevertheless, Israel agreed in the Sharm el Sheikh agreement to open Hebron's Shuhada Street and wholesale market. The PA has never extradited terrorists responsible for killings even though it promised to on three occasions.
Although Israel did agree in the Wye accord to waive this demand, the Sharm agreements add insult to injury. Not only will murderers of Jews not be extradited - and many of them were not even jailed in PA territory, as they should have been under the Wye agreement - but now Israel has agreed to release more terrorists with blood on their hands, of the kind who tried to murder Jews, but only managed to injure them, as well as murderers of Arabs.
There are numerous examples of released terrorists returning to terrorism, be it terrorists Israel released under the Jibril deal or terrorists the PA released from its jails after refusing to extradite them to Israel. Halil Toufik Sharif, for example, who murdered David Boim near Beit El and who the PA refused to extradite to Israel, detonated a bomb attached to his body on the Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall in Jerusalem. Subhi Issa, who took part in the killing of three IDF soldiers in 1993, is suspected of involvement in the attack on Yoel Moshe Salomon street in Jerusalem, in which an Israeli woman soldier and an Israeli Arab were killed. The possibility is now being considered of releasing one of the six murderers who "only" assisted in the killing of Efrat and Yaron Unger three years ago. One member of this group whom Israel did not manage to apprehend, blew himself up in March 1997inside Cafe Apropo in Tel Aviv, an attack which killed three women.
The latest agreement is a terrible deal. Barak so wanted to link the third redeployment to the permanent settlement that he offered Arafat an array of temptations and benefits to achieve that goal. Arafat, as usual, took the benefits without giving anything in return. The Sharm agreement contains nothing to make the Palestinians link the third redeployment to the permanent agreement. Moreover, the letter of guarantees which U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave Arafat stresses the absence of any such link. On the other hand, Arafat received a bundle of gifts: an additional 2 percent of Area B from the first redeployment, the release of terrorists "with blood on their hands," a more "qualitative" withdrawal, "candies" in Hebron and dates for the start of construction of a port in Gaza and the opening of the first "safe passage."
Once again, the Palestinians are promising to collect illegal weapons, reduce the size of the Palestinian police force that has ballooned to the size of an army and arrest wanted suspects. Well, so what? The worst thing about the Sharm agreement is that the PA's interest in thwarting terrorist attacks against us - coming out of the additional territories we are now handing over to them - is always conditional on the continued handing over of territories. Their final line, at least for now, is the 1947 Partition Plan line. This is PA-style reciprocity: a self-destruction mechanism built into a process that is supposed to be one of conciliation.