predicted explicitly that Arafat would play a duplicitous game in
which he would turn a blind eye to atrocities by Hamas and
Jihad terrorists, pretending he could not control them, and would
gradually renew the role of his own Fatah and similar PLO
organization in anti-Jewish atrocities.
The reaction at that time to my Midstream piece and
subsequent articles was indignant dismissal. Countless people
accused me of being an ignoramus, a blind fanatic, and worse.
Colleagues at the university warned me that I was endangering
my academic career in Israel by opposing the ''peace'' and the
growing Oslo consensus in favor of it.
I predicted that the real result of Oslo would be to return
Israel to its 1967 borders, from which it would relive 1967 —
forced to re-fight the Six Day War and possibly not winning this
time. But that prediction turned out to be overly optimistic. The
real result of Oslo is not the returning of Israel to the conditions
of 1967, but the gradual recreation of the conditions of 1947. The
goal of the PLO, of course, is to recreate Budapest of 1944.
I get first word of the Bus 37 massacre from the computer. It
is to be a lost day in terms of work. I begin to wander the frozen
streets of Budapest to collect my thoughts. I stare at the Danube
The not-so-blue Danube, into which the Germans played a
game of shooting Jews and watching them fall in and drown. The
ghosts of the murdered haunt the streets and alleys of Budapest.
They hide in every alley, behind piles of rubble, some sixty years
old and never cleared. I am only a few blocks away from where
Eichmann had his headquarters during 1944 while
exterminating the Jews of Hungary. He dispatched thousands of
Bus 37s, full of Jewish children. And now his legacy is alive,
thanks to the architects of Oslo, as new Palestinian Eichmanns
mass murder new buses full of Jewish children.
Bus 37 contained a high school boy, now dead, who had
recently transferred out of my daughter's class. Another dead
child was the son of a graduate from the business school where I
teach in Haifa. The Arab Nazis, like the German Nazis before
them, have always made a special effort at targeting Jewish
children. I have no doubt that the Bus 37 murderer blew himself
up in the rear of the bus specifically because it was full of
children. He did not care that it was a bus that ordinarily carries
lots of Arabs. One of the dead is a Druse. None of the leftist
university professors who routinely cheer on Arab terrorism were
on the bus.
In 1993, Yasir Arafat was still sitting and rotting away in
Tunis, were he had been driven by Israel's 1982 invasion of
Lebanon. He was persona non grata almost everywhere,
especially in Washington. There was consensus almost
everywhere that the PLO would never be included in any peace
conference and that Palestinian statehood was a non-starter for
The first intifada had been beaten down by Israel, and
Palestinian violence was at a new low. Palestinians still threw
rocks at Israeli soldiers and Jews in cars, but were so desperate
for weapons that the best they could come up with were
homemade zip guns and stale explosives more likely to blow the
handlers to pieces than their intended victims.
Into this near-idyllic pastoral scene came Shimon Peres,
Yitzhak Rabin and Yossi Beilin with a plan to snatch defeat from
the jaws of victory. They proposed to rescue Arafat from his
isolation, to legitimize him and convert him into a ''statesman,''
and to offer him his own state in the West Bank and Gaza, with
East Jerusalem as its capital. Their grand design was to arm
Arafat and bankroll him, to grant him Palestinian sovereignty
over Israel's ancestral lands. They were so sure of PLO
cooperation that they saw no need at all for any testing period to
verify Arafat's real intentions. They dismantled all Israeli
informant networks among the Palestinians, and turned the
informants over to the PLO to be tortured and murdered.
The ''Oslo Era'' had begun, with Peres and Rabin lecturing
Israelis about how it was all their own fault that the conflict had
lasted so long, telling them that they had not wished hard
enough on their wishing stars for peace, that they had believed
incorrectly the barbarians could be defeated by their army, and
that they had been unjustly trying to ''rule over another people.''
Overnight, the Israeli government adopted the Arab world's
''narrative,'' its version of Middle East history.
''Oslo'' was based on the presumption that Israeli niceness
to the Palestinians would be reciprocated in the form of
Palestinian good sportsmanship, fraternity and fairness. It was
based on the belief that the violence could be ended by importing
thousands of would-be Eichmanns into the suburbs of Tel Aviv
and Jerusalem. It was based on the belief that war could be
ended by pretending it did not exist. It was based on the belief
that pretending that Palestinians were Swedes would make them
About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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