Oslo at 10

The Jerusalem Post has an excellent account of the negotiations and assessment of the miscalculations that produced Oslo on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the ceremonial handshake on the White House lawn: “Why Oslo failed.”
The column notes the bait-and-switch with which the Palestinian delegation sold Arafat to the Israelis: “Until just a few days before the signing of the first agreement, negotiations were still going on with the representatives of the Palestine Delegation to the Madrid-Washington talks. That is what Yitzhak Rabin as the prime minister of Israel knew, and that is why in the draft agreement that had been prepared for signing, it was the Palestine Delegation rather than the PLO that appears as the party to the agreement. This is why until the last moment, the agreement did not mention the need to fight terror.
“Arafat forced the Israeli side to agree that the PLO – rather than the Palestine Delegation – would be party to the agreement under pressure of an ultimatum, threatening that if the PLO was not part of the agreement, there would be no agreement. This is also why at the very last moment, the draft agreement was changed, and the entire issue of the treatment of terror and the abrogation of the Palestinian Covenant was dealt with in such a clumsy fashion and worded so ambiguously.”
You might say that the Israelis observed the anniversary with their declaration to expel Arafat and symbolically undo this aspect of Oslo. The issue of the Weekly Standard out this morning seems to take the Israeli declaration at face value without raising any issue regarding the execution. Tom Rose, the publisher of the Jerusalem Post, has the issue’s key piece: “End of the road map.”


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