From Oslo to Sharm el-Sheik


A long arduous and thorny road to nowhere.

This mad journey was started back in 1974, during the Arab summit in Rabat, Morocco, where the Arab league took it upon itself to elect the Palestine Liberation Organisation as our sole representative.

It was a fait accompli.

The Palestinian nation was not consulted.

On the 15th November, 1988 our fate was sealed when the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, announced by PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, formally established the State of Palestine.

We were not consulted.

From then on, the Palestinian Cause and the fate of all Palestinians took a downwards spiral. There was the Madrid Conference, in 1991, under the auspices of the USA and the Soviet Union, when President George Bush, the father, told Congress, “The time has come to put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.” Yitzakh Shamir, then the Israeli Prime Minister, was forced to attend by threats of withdrawal of financial guarantees from President Bush. However, Shamir insisted that there would not be any presence of any PLO member. As such, the Palestinian delegation was merged with the Jordanian delegation.

You would have thought that the PLO would have smelled a rat and demanded that this charade be stopped forthwith. No, they didn’t. Instead of having an agreement with Israel, witnessed and credited by the two major powers, they were duped into bi-lateral discussions between the PLO and Israel which lead to the shameful Oslo Accords of 1993.

The Palestinian nation was not consulted.

The PLO concessions did not stop there. In April, 1994, there was the Paris Accord, which effectively gave Israel control of our finances.

The Palestinian nation was not consulted.

That same year, six months later, when Jordan saw that the Palestinians had signed ‘a peace treaty’ with Israel, the late King Hussein decided to follow suit and Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel, known as the Wadi-Araba Agreement.

The Palestinian nation was not consulted.

As if that was not enough, the following year, 1995, the PLO signed the second Oslo Accord in Paris, when the then Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin promised Yasser Arafat more autonomy for the Palestinian Authority, more withdrawal from cities and the spread of Palestinian police forces in those cities. None of these promises were kept, other than the spread of Palestinian forces in various cities of the West Bank to control and quell the resistance against the Israeli Occupation. In other words, the newly born Palestinian Authority, which had no authority whatsoever, became the sub-contractor for the Occupation.

The Palestinian nation was not consulted.

In 2002, during the summit conference in Beirut, Lebanon, the Arab League members offered Israel a comprehensive peace treaty with ALL Arab countries in exchange for the Israeli forces’ withdrawal to the borders of 1967, which is known as the green line. The deal was called ‘Peace For Land’. Israel rejected the proposal out of hand.

The Palestinian nation was not consulted.

But we did not stand idle. When we Palestinians realised the Oslo Accords were nothing but a trap, there was the second intifada uprising in 2000 that lasted four years and cost the lives of over 3000 Palestinians. The siege of Yasser Arafat in his quarters, ending in his murder, brought the intifada to an end.

Then there were further meetings between the Palestinian Authority and the Israelis which achieved nothing, but more losses, more deaths, more destruction, more demolition of homes and imprisonment without charge; even of Palestinian children. Just one stark example of these protracted and futile negotiations: When Mahmoud Abbas, the current president of the Palestinian Authority, signed the first accord in 1993 there were under 100,000 illegal Israeli settlers, scattered over thirty illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza; now there are over 700,000 and over 140 illegal settlements and outposts.

Successive Israeli governments have pretended to engage in a ‘peace process’, but in reality they have continued to consolidate and expand the occupation. There have been many meetings, all over the world, with Palestinian representatives which, so far, have brought us nothing but death and destruction.

At the end of last year, the Israelis voted into government the most far-right, fascist element of Israeli society. These members of government are now calling for open genocide in Palestine and as recently as Sunday, March 19th, at a conference in Paris, Mr Bezalel Smotrich, Israeli finance minister, in charge of settlements, denied our very existence. He said, as quoted in ‘The Times’ of Israel: “Is there a Palestinian history of culture? No. The Palestinians are an invented people from less than a hundred years ago.”

Yet, according to Herodotus, Greek historian, 484-425 BC:

“Palestina is part of Syria along the Mediterranean coast.”

Even more telling is this extract from the old testament of the Bible.

“ The people shall hear and be afraid; sorrow shall take over the inhabitants of Palestine.” Exodus 15:14

It seems that Mr Smotrich is ignorant of his own bible. Or is the bible only useful when the Zionists need to employ God as their real estate agent?

Last Tuesday, March 21st, the Israeli parliament paved the way for Jewish settlers’ return to four settlements in the occupied West Bank, by amending a 2005 law that ordered their evacuation, a move condemned by the Palestinian Authority and the European Union.

From all the above, it is strikingly obvious that it doesn’t matter how many times we, the Palestinians, are told to attend so-called ‘peace conferences’, be it in Washington, London, Paris, Aqaba, Sharm El-Sheik or anywhere in the world, the result is always the same.

While our unelected representatives pontificate they, the Israelis consolidate.

Jafar M Ramini is a Palestinian writer and political analyst. He was born in Jenin in 1943 and was five years old when he and his family had to flee the terror of the Urgun and Stern gangs. Justice for the people of Palestine is a life-long commitment.


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