“The truth is harsh. The occupation is destroying Israel. It is undermining Israel’s ethical, democratic and diplomatic foundations.”
So claimed Haaretz Correspondent Ari Shavit on 17 December 2009.
I would suggest that, in retrospect, much of the activity surrounding Oslo – rather than the “occupation” – has been “undermining Israel’s ethical, democratic and diplomatic foundations.”
#1 Respect for Human Life
Oslo corrupted our respect for human life. Soldiers and civilians alike became no more than pawns in a game of peacemaking under the gun. And today, after sinking up to our noses in the mire of Oslo, with politicians often ultimately treating brutal murders as temporary insignificant inconveniences, we find a dramatic increase in murder, violent crime, even violence in the schoolyard.
#2 Israel’s intelligence system
Oslo corrupted the very top of Israel’s intelligence system. Some allowed their ideology to seriously cloud their judgment as they naively thought they could sub-contract Israel’s security to their Palestinian pals who they wined and dined on open expense accounts. Others, with an eye on their career track, opted to present reports and analysis that supported the “process” rather than what they really thought. And it didn’t stop there. Some of these top Israelis entered into a web of business relations with their Palestinian counterparts. Money – the ultimate corrupter.
#3. Political system
Oslo corrupted the political system, with it becoming acceptable to make bare-faced lies to the Knesset, as was the case when Shimon Peres denied the existence of his “Jerusalem Letter”, and later when time and again the explicit policy choices made by the citizens was ignored after election day. But it wasn’t just the lies and the vote buying. Oslo introduced brazen and open foreign interference in the Israeli democratic process with money from the European Union and other nations financing various leftist groups in Israel and even some politicians.
Oslo so corrupted respect for the democratic process that the ruling government even went so far as to use the services of the State’s intelligence apparatus to undermine the standing of their political rivals and silence them rather than engage them in serious debate. To this day serious public debate is marred by the efforts to silence voices with charges of incitement and the “extremist” label.
Oslo corrupted the news media as reporters abandoned their critical “watchdog” role, opting to either distort or ignore the truth as their contribution to the “peace process”.
Oslo corrupted our society. Oslo corrupted our democratic system. Oslo corrupted our security.
Yes. And it undermined our security.
Defenders of the retreat from Gaza cite the security conditions faced by Israelis in the Gaza Strip just before the retreat. They either forgot – or hope their audience has forgotten – that before Oslo the security situation was so favorable that places like Netzarim were “defended” by a single bored soldier sitting at the main entrance to the community.
The “terror” that the Labor Party blamed the Shamir Government for in the election campaign before Oslo’s birth was a series of knifing incidents.
Thanks to Oslo, instead of knives, guns, and an occasional homemade bomb we find ourselves facing trained armies in our backyard and even living room. And under the “quiet for quiet” policy our enemies can do pretty much anything they want to to upgrade the weapons they have as long as they don’t use them. Yet. [We try to comfort ourselves by claiming that the quiet is thanks to Israeli deterrence when it could just as easily be described as our enemies opting to pick the time and place – and that time and place hasn’t yet arrived.].
#5. Flood of foreign workers
Thanks to Oslo our country is swamped with the foreign workers who were brought in to replace the masses of Palestinian workers who, thanks to the Oslo security fiasco, could no longer be trusted.
#6. Diplomatic standing
And Oslo – not the occupation – served to undermine Israel’s diplomatic foundations.
Oslo took Yasser Arafat and his PLO off the dung heap of history (wallowing in Tunis after being thrown out of Lebanon) when only radicals in the West were talking about anything beyond a Palestinian autonomy and lead ultimately to the diplomatic challenge we face today – with the critical message of UNSC 242 (no requirement of full withdrawal) being ignored.
Dr. Aaron Lerner