Lessons from Oslo

We criticize the Oslo accords, and rightly so.

Instantaneously, the accords recognized the Palestinian people, united the Palestinian people, accepted tactically that the Palestinian identity is passed on to generations. The tacit acceptance that place of birth does not confer nationality is absolute nonsense. My grandchildren are not British, nor are the Israeli-born grandchildren of American nationals Americans.

If this had been the only mistake, I would be happy but far from it- it wasn't. Our basic policy towards the Palestinians changed overnight. Our policy previously dealt with the local Palestinians and excluded professional Palestinians in Tunis and the rump refugees living in Arab countries. The generation born in these countries did not receive the nationality of the country of birth. Non-conferral is illegal and immoral. We are not at fault. We do not have to find a solution. These children were citizens and members of the state where they were born. To confer on them a nationality, not in existence was an exercise in futility and stupidity. Oslo tacitly accepted and enabled the existence of a mythical Palestinian galut.

No public debate occurred before the U-turn in policy. The new policy was not any party’s proposal before the previous election. The new gospel imposed itself upon us. Most of the people in the majority governing party would have opposed the action if they had known it was happening. In other words, Oslo was not only stupid, poorly thought out, disastrously executed it was the highest order of antithetic democracy. The electorate was blindsided and hoodwinked.

When we went to the last elections, the governing party, the Likud party, claimed its official policy was to favor the two-state solution. There is no way we can change that policy without asking, at an election what the people of Israel's desire. We are making the same Oslo-type changes again.

I would suggest, it is blatantly obvious. Most of us feel the two-state solution is now a dangerous solution. On the other hand, it does not mean because the Palestinians are making their statehood an impossibility, we received rights to pass our laws, to wander around claim land, build on it and behave as if the law of Israel exists in the occupied territories.

It does not. And, without an election deciding if that is the will of the electorate, it should not.

I choose the word occupied because legally speaking this is the position today.

If there is to be a change and we are reverse our previous policies-I'm not referring to the two-state solution-I am referring to forcefully imposing Israeli law on Palestinian citizens, then we must go to a general election. Forcing Israeli law on Palestinians is annexation.

Only the people of Israel can decide if we are to make such a sea change in our policy.

As a supporter of the Likud party, indeed a card-carrying member of the Likud party I will state my position openly:

I do not wish to rule other people. My first consideration is security. After security, my next consideration is a democracy. I cannot see how we can rule the Palestinians and remain democratic. I am not prepared to forego my democratic principles for those of some theocratic belief about the land of Israel. It may be a belief I understand; it may be one with which I sympathize. Nevertheless, I do not hold the belief as sacrosanct. It is not. In my opinion, we have made a covenant with God and the peoples he created. The UN represents the peoples of the world.

The United Nations created Israel in a covenant. The covenant states we practice Zionism within the confines of our state. In accordance with the covenant, we agreed to partition the land of Israel. Palestinians decided to forgo their rights then. The Palestinians did not lose their rights in perpetuity. Nor did we supersede their rights in abeyance of the Palestinian folly. The covenant exists. The conditions have changed. The covenant has not changed. Only a foolish Israel would tinker with the covenant. If we are going to renege on the agreement, we must decide as a people. We must have an election first.

I am as attached as any nonreligious person is to the land of Israel. In any future settlement, I demand that Jews should be allowed to live anywhere they wish in the land of Israel.

I realize to do so some of us will eventually become Palestinians or live as Israelis outside the state of Israel- in Palestine. In any peace settlement, I demand open borders and free trade. I wish to retain my Israeli citizenship to the full. I demand the right to live in peace and security. I demand a demilitarized Palestine. Initially, we must control the military security over the whole of the Land Of Israel. I do not negate the covenant, but Palestine of now will be different from the Palestine intended to be born as our twin. Reality and self-preservation demand we recognize the consequences of repeated Palestinian to throttle us out of existence. However, I will not support an abrogation of the covenant with the peoples of the world.

I fully realize this means we cannot swipe parts of their land and take it from them. I also realize that we cannot enact our laws on the Palestinians. The fact they are not prepared to make peace under our conditions does not mean we must give in to the will of a minority who is dragging us in the wrong direction. We cannot have a creeping annexation. Placing Israeli laws on Palestinians is virtual annexation. I want to separate from the Palestinians, under very strict conditions. Their non-acceptance is their business. It, in no way, is a reason to change our policy- not without an election.

The Oslo accords were a calamity led by a minority of narrow-minded zealots blinded by their sense of righteousness. Their mirror image is leading us in the same arrogant manner. Enactment of Israeli law over Palestinians will have the same consequences as did the Oslo accord and will have the same disastrous effects. The very act disenfranchises the majority, in direct negation of the wishes of the majority is an act which threatens democracy itself. We cannot rule other people- another overt threat to our democracy. In this respect, we are behaving worse than we did in enacting Oslo. Oslo negated the ballot box, now we are negating the ballot box and annexing people who will demand representation. We cannot legislate without those legislated acquire representation. Where will our democracy be? Everyone has the right to vote. Voters decide who will legislate and make their laws. We cannot make laws concerning Palestinians. They must make peace and legislate for themselves.

If God forbid, we are to make these changes and legislate Palestinians; then we must do so only after a public discussion and the calling of a general election. The people of Israel must decide their fate and not have it dictated to us by 40 landowners, behaving like spoilt brats. The brats of Amona are the latter day brats of Oslo.

We are walking blindly over a cliff.

We must learn from Oslo and not repeat it.