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{Originally posted to the author’s website}

Over the course of the past 70 years, Israel has committed its fair share of grave miscalculations, many of which continue to haunt the country and harm our national security. From the failure to annex Judea, Samaria and Gaza in the immediate aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, to the refusal to believe that Egypt would dare attack in 1973, and on to the inconclusive 2006 Second Lebanon War, the Jewish state’s indecision has often proven to be costly in both blood and tears.


And yet, as we mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords with the PLO this week, it is clear that even these blunders pale in comparison with the capricious capitulation that took place on the White House Lawn on September 13, 1993.

Simply put, Oslo was the worst strategic disaster in Israel’s history and we have yet to fully extricate ourselves from the damage it continues to wreak.

The tragedy began when, with reckless disregard for logic, morality or even common sense, then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and foreign minister Shimon Peres tossed a lifeline to PLO chairman Yasser Arafat and magnanimously agreed to give him control over parts of the Land of Israel in exchange for an empty promise of peace.

Overnight, the reviled revolutionary, whose resumé included ordering plane hijackings, school massacres and the slaughter of civilians, was granted international legitimacy.

Arafat was subsequently allowed to set up shop in Gaza and Jericho, and later in all the major cities of Judea and Samaria, which he quickly used as a platform from which to murder more Israelis than ever before.

Consider the following: in the five years after the signing of Oslo, more Israelis were killed by Palestinian terrorists than in the 15 years prior to the signing of the agreement. A total of 279 men, women and children were murdered in the half-decade following the accords, while 254 were killed in the previous 15 years.

In other words, Oslo brought in its wake an unprecedented wave of terrorism the likes of which Israel had never seen.

And yet, even as buses were exploding in Tel Aviv and restaurants were being bombed in Jerusalem, many persisted in clinging to the false hope of “land for peace,” shutting their eyes to reality and insisting on pushing forward with still more Israeli concessions and withdrawals.

It did not seem to matter to them that the Palestinian leadership was wantonly and brazenly violating every single one of its major obligations under Oslo, including the need to crack down on violence, disarm and disband Hamas and halt anti-Israel incitement.

For the sake of “peace,” the Palestinians were allowed to act with impunity.

The result was as perilous as it was predictable, as the thousands of rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists at Israeli cities and towns over the years tragically demonstrate.

Just look at what Oslo and its aftermath have bequeathed to us: a hostile Palestinian entity in Ramallah that glorifies violence, educates children to kill and compares Israel to the Nazis, as well as the Hamas regime in Gaza that openly espouses our destruction.

In effect, Israel gave up large swathes of land, but instead of peace, all it received in return was perfidy.

Yes, most Israelis have in recent years come to the realization that there is no partner for peace on the other side, and the Left has paid a heavy political price for having hoisted catastrophe on the country with its misguided policies.

Nonetheless, the fact remains that the core principle of Oslo continues to plague us all, as much of the international community mindlessly adheres to the mantra regarding the need for a “two-state solution.”

Like believers in a false messiah who failed to deliver redemption, these fantasists continue to cling to the illusion that recognizing an independent “Palestine” would somehow bring about an end to the conflict.

What they fail to realize, or consciously choose not to, is that our struggle with the Palestinians is not a battle over borders, it is a clash of civilizations. It is a contest between good and evil, right and wrong, truth and falsehood. Signing yet another piece of paper, or conferring still more diplomatic rewards on the obstructionist Palestinian leadership, cannot and will not resolve anything. It will only cause the problem to continue to fester – with innocent Israelis being made to pay the price.

After 25 years of Israeli retreat and Palestinian irredentism, the lesson of Oslo should be clear: Israel cannot place its security in the hands of others. No matter what, we must never allow a hostile Palestinian terrorist state to be established in Judea and Samaria, as it would pose a direct threat to the future of the country.

If Oslo taught us anything, it is that appeasement and territorial concessions are a recipe for ruin. All the rest is commentary.


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Michael Freund is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s leading English-language daily, and he previously served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Prime Minister’s Office under Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.