What about the history of Palestinian compliance with the so-called Peace Process? Incontestably the PA and Hamas are both guilty of multiple material breaches of the original Oslo Accords. For example:
1. PA/Hamas still fail to confiscate arms and to disarm militias. The Palestinian police (still drawing upon terrorists for recruitment) are legally obligated to disarm all militias acting in areas under its jurisdiction, to confiscate all weapons other than pistols, and to license pistols in accordance with regulations to be established by the two sides (Annex I, Art. II, 1 and Art. XI). In fact, all of the militias which were operating when the PA first assumed control over Gaza and Jericho – Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Fatah – remain armed. In total violation of the Oslo Accords and the successor Road Map, Hamas – even after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead – is still establishing a thriving military industry in Gaza,complete with extensive cross-border smuggling from Egypt. Even before Prime Minister Sharon’s ill-fated “disengagement” from Gaza, Hamas had established multiple factories for manufacturing various kinds of ammunition. Moreover, and notwithstanding U.S. President Barack Obama’s support of the Road Map, Hamas is now actively engaged in assorted and growing collaborations with al Qaeda.
2. The PA still refuses to present Israel with lists of Palestinian policemen. To enable Israel to prevent terrorists from joining the Palestinian police force (an expectation that Israel has consistently been unable to satisfy), the PA is obligated to submit the list of all potential recruits for Israel’s approval (Annex I, Art. IV, 4). This requirement is especially critical regarding those Palestinians who were initially recruited from those areas where Hamas and Islamic Jihad influence has always been particularly strong. The PA has never submitted any of the names from when it recruited forces for Gaza and Jericho. The PA repeated its codified commitment concerning recruitment for the additional areas governed by the Interim Agreement, but it has still continued and enlarged its policy of systematic noncompliance.
3. The PA has long exceeded the permissible number of policemen. The early Gaza-Jericho Accords of May 1994 limited the number of Palestinian policemen to 9000 (Annex I, Art. III, 3), but during the period when the PA controlled these two areas they enrolled approximately 20,000 people in their so-called “security forces.” The Interim Agreement expanded the PA’s jurisdiction to additional parts of Judea/Samaria, and increased the permissible number of policemen to 24,000 in areas A and B, including Gaza (Annex I, Art. IV, 3). Early on, however, the PA police signed on more than 30,000 men and perhaps as many as 40,000 or even 50,000. This would suggest that the PA police have always been recruited not as a police agency, but as an army.
4. The PA still continues to refuse to extradite any suspected terrorists. The PA is still obligated to turn over to Israel for trial all individuals for whom Israel provides an arrest warrant and proof of terrorist activity (Annex IV, II, 7). Yet, to date, Israel has requested several hundred suspects in mass murder, murder or attempted murder of Israelis, and not one has been handed over to Israeli authorities. Leading PA officials have made it perfectly clear that they have absolutely no intention of honoring the extradition provisions of the Oslo Accords, and that they will continue their wholesale illegal intransigence under the RoadMap. Reciprocally, it should be pointed out, Israel has absolutely no right under international law to free terrorists – an egregious practice which has been accepted by several successive Israeli governments, and always with deeply regrettable human outcomes.
5. The PA has failed entirely to use its court system for the punishment of terrorists. The Palestinian police are obligated to “arrest and prosecute individuals who are suspected of perpetrating acts of terror and violence.” (Annex I, Art. II, 1). Yet, for years, not one of the top leaders of the military wings of PA, Hamas or Islamic Jihad has been sentenced in this regard – a policy of flagrant Palestinian law-violation that continues without apology, and assuredly without any sanctions from the so-called “international community.”
6. The PA leadership has become more rather than less complicit in its persistent incitement to terror. The Palestinian leadership is obligated to refrain from incitement to terrorism (Art. XXII). Yet, there have been many statements by PA government officials calling stridently for Jihad, and praising those who have brought unspeakable death to Israeli men, women and children.
LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) lectures and publishes widely on Israeli and US foreign and military policies. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.