Twenty-five years ago, the world watched as Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shook hands with Palestinian leader and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn. The Oslo process, launched with the September 13, 1993 signing of the Declaration of Principles as President Clinton looked on, was supposed to lead to genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It never happened because Oslo was based on a delusion, a false belief by many Israelis that they had a partner for peace.
The truth was readily evident. On the evening of the White House ceremony, Arafat broadcast a speech on Jordanian television assuring Palestinians, and the Arab world more broadly, that they should understand Oslo in terms of the Palestine National Council’s 1974 decision. This was a reference to the so-called “plan of phases,” according to which the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) would acquire whatever territory it could by negotiations, then use that land as a base for pursuing Israel’s annihilation.
Why did Oslo’s supporters deny the truth? The Arab siege of Israel had been underway for nearly half a century, since the Jewish State’s founding. Invariably under conditions of such chronic besiegement – whether involving minorities marginalized and victimized by the surrounding majority or small states whose neighbors seek their destruction – elements of the population under assault will shun reality. They will fool themselves into believing that sufficient self-reform and concessions will win relief. They do so out of desperate longing for respite and despite typically overwhelming evidence in the rhetoric and actions of their attackers that the besieged are merely indulging in wishful thinking.
The traditional position of left-leaning Israeli parties had been that Israel needed to await a peace partner who would renounce terror and recognize Israel’s right to exist. But in the years preceding Oslo, this reasonable stance had eroded in the face of the unrelenting siege and the Left’s alienation from governments in which, since 1977, the right-leaning Likud had largely dominated. Growing numbers on the Israeli Left – including an overwhelming majority within the nation’s academic, cultural and media elites – concluded the major impediment to peace was the Israeli Right and its unwillingness to make necessary concessions. The Labor Party’s victory in the 1992 election gave the Left the opportunity to act on its delusion.
In the wake of Oslo’s launching, Arafat and those around him continued to declare their goal was Israel’s annihilation and used their newly acquired control over Palestinian media, mosques and schools to promote this agenda. Accompanying the stepped-up incitement was an increase in terror, which the Israeli government insisted was the work of Hamas and other Islamist factions, supposedly unconnected to Arafat, but which he repeatedly praised and – as the Israelis knew – was deeply involved in propagating.
In the twenty-two months from Arafat’s arrival in the territories as head of the Oslo-created Palestinian Authority, in July, 1994, until the fall of Israel’s Labor-Meretz government that had choreographed Oslo, in May, 1996, 152 people were killed in Palestinian terror attacks. The murder rate was more than two-and-a-half times that of losses to terror in the 26-year stretch from the 1967 war to the start of Oslo.
Eventually, the carnage of exploding buses began to shift thinking among Israelis, even within the pro-Oslo elites. For example, in 1997, Ari Shavit, senior Haaretz columnist and himself an early, enthusiastic supporter of Oslo, wrote: “In the early 90s… we, the enlightened Israelis, were infected with a messianic craze… All of a sudden, we believed that… the end of the old Middle East was near. The end of history, the end of wars, the end of the conflict… We fooled ourselves with illusions. We were bedazzled into committing a collective act of messianic drunkenness.” But Shavit was broadly excoriated for his stance, and about half the Israeli electorate continued to support Oslo.
This changed substantially only in the wake of the Camp David summit in 2000. Arafat rejected all proposals put forward by then Prime Minister Ehud Barak and President Clinton, failed to offer any counter-proposals, and made clear he was not willing to sign an end-of-conflict agreement no matter what concessions he was given. A few months later he launched his terror war, which in the ensuing few years claimed more than a thousand Israeli lives.
Anti-Oslo sentiment among Israelis was further buttressed by all that followed on Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Proponents of the move hailed it as a major step towards peace and an opportunity for the Palestinians to build for themselves the equivalent of a Hong Kong or Singapore. Instead, Gaza was exploited by the Palestinian Authority under Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, to feed the PA kleptocracy and to advance the confrontation with Israel; and, following its violent takeover by Hamas in 2007, it was used as a base for Hamas rocket and other attacks against Israel, triggering three wars over the next seven years.
Today, there is little prospect for true peace. The Palestinian Authority, under whose control more than ninety percent of Palestinians on the West Bank live, continues to use its media, mosques and schools to exhort its people to murder Israelis. PA leader Abbas has made clear, like Arafat before him, that he will never recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state within any borders. Hamas consistently reiterates its dedication to its charter’s calls for killing not only all Israelis but all the world’s Jews.
The great majority of Israelis, so violently awakened from Oslo’s delusions, have reconciled themselves to basic realities. They see their only option now as ensuring the nation’s security while remaining open to whatever opportunities for genuine peace may eventually emerge.
Oslo’s major legacy, beyond its grim cost in both Israeli and Arab lives, is a sober, potent lesson on the immense dangers of national self-deception.
Jeremy Corbyn leads a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in 2014, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. Photo: File.
This marked a massive rise from the previous such survey, in which only 39% of Jews believed Corbyn was antisemitic.
British Jews also expressed an extremely low opinion of the Labour Party in general. The poll showed that 85.6% believed Labour suffered from “very high” levels of antisemitism.
Corbyn and his party have been beset with a series of high-profile antisemitism scandals for several years, which has resulted in the resignation and suspension of several prominent officials. Corbyn himself was recently caught on video saying that “Zionists” did not understand “English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time.”
Makuya in Jerusalem 201 (YouTube)
Like an apple tree among trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, And his fruit is sweet to my mouth. (Song of Songs 2:3)
For ten days in late August, Israeli Rabbi Benny Lau and his wife, Rabbanit Noah Lau, traveled from Jerusalem to Japan to lead Bible study for groups of Makuya Japanese Christians. The Laus traveled to five Japanese towns and spent three days together at a weekend conference with 3,400 members of the Makuya group.
Makuya is Japanese for the Hebrew word Mishkan, the tent of meeting, where human beings come into contact with God. The Mishkan was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites used in the desert, before entering Israel and building the First Holy Temple.
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5)
Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. (Credit: Agencia O Globo)
Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner in the upcoming presidential election in Brazil, was stabbed during a campaign rally Thursday and was undergoing surgery.
The far-right politician, whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others – -who accuse him of racism and homophobia – in a deeply polarized electorate, was attacked amid a crowd in the south-east state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro has performed strongly in recent opinion polls.
Those same polls suggested that he will likely receive the most votes in next month’s presidential elections, especially if the country’s former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (‘Lula’) remains blocked from standing. He is currently in prison, but is appealing against his candidacy ban – imposed after his conviction for corruption.
Republican lawmakers have made it clear they have no intention of repealing Obamacare in the current Congress.
Republicans in the nation’s top lawmaking body have never really wanted to get rid of Obamacare. They would prefer to present the program, which David Horowitz correctly describes as “the greatest assault on individual freedom and individual choice in our lifetimes,” as a villain and whip up sentiment against it and run against it every election. They view Obamacare as good for the business of politics. They may chip away at it from time to time or tinker with it at the margins, but make no mistake: these creatures of Washington want to keep it in place. This is the Republicans’ dirty secret.
The Trump administration has decided to reopen a case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, previously closed by the Obama administration in 2014, alleging that the university had allowed Jewish students to be subjected to a hostile environment in violation of Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The issue, ignored by the Obama administration, was whether the students were discriminated against based on their actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnicity. Kenneth L. Marcus, the new assistant secretary of education for civil rights, decided that the case deserved another look.
Nestled in the Han River in the middle of South Korea’s bustling capital of Seoul, Yeoui Island is hardly where one would expect to find the largest mega-church in the world. Home to the city’s business and financial district, its skyline dotted with skyscrapers, the island boasts some of the country’s most powerful institutions, such as the Korean stock exchange and the headquarters of LG, the international conglomerate.
The AfD’s opponents, who often brand the party as “far right” or “extremist,” claim that the party’s alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups pose an existential threat to Germany’s constitutional order. The AfD’s supporters counter that Germany’s politically correct establishment, afraid of losing its power and influence, is attempting to outlaw a legitimate party that has pledged to put the interests of German citizens first.
Israel’s Palestinian foes regard “martyrdom” as the supremely highest expression of Islamic sacredness. Nonetheless, there are certain conspicuously prominent disjunctions between the relevant obligations of faith and expectations of international law. Unambiguously, only the latter set of obligations can offer a suitably authoritative source for assessing Palestinian resorts to armed force.
This is the case even when the stated objective of such resorts would be “self-determination” and/or “national liberation.”
“Setting fire to the ground,” a “major catastrophe,” bringing “new instability” are the headlines that have greeted Donald Trump’s unorthodox decisions over the past year. Withdrawing from UNESCO, moving the US Embassy, leaving the Iran deal and cutting funding to UNRWA and funding for Pakistan were seen as extreme decisions in the Middle East and around the world. Insofar as there is a “Trump Doctrine,” it has been to call this bluff.
In the mind-set of Trump and his team, the time has come for the United States to move quickly to reverse decades of foreign policy norms, ending the status quo, and ripping up what the previous administrations did.
The jihadi assault on and massacre of Christians continued unabated throughout the Muslim word. According to one report titled, “Armed gangs WIPE OUT 15 villages in mass Christian slaughter in Nigeria,” several Islamic terrorists “stormed through 15 villages to massacre Christians and destroy their churches in a violent crackdown against the religion…. Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.
Wars are raging in various parts of the Middle East, although there is a tendency not to call the conflicts by that name because of the fear conjured up by the word.
One conflagration is the war Iran is waging against those – headed by Israel – who stand in the way of its plans to take over the entire Middle East.
Another is the Assad regime’s war to take back control of the entire country, and a third is the PLO’s battle for survival.
Much has been written about the first of these wars, and reports have claimed that from early 2017 on, Israel has launched over 200 attacks in Syria, mainly at targets connected to Iran.