Uri Avnery (02.08.02)
zu den Hetzkampagnen:
"Stellt die "Oslo-Verbrecher"
vor Gericht!!! Indict the
Murderers of Oslo!!!"
When I hear right-wing Israelis shout "Indict the Oslo Criminals!" I
shudder. Not because of the inherent falsification, but because of the
sound of the words.
This slogan is a virtual (and perhaps
conscious) copy of the slogan used by the Nazis in their successful
campaign to undermine the Weimar republic. Their throats were hoarse
from shouting "Indict the November Criminals!"
The "November Criminals" were the German statesmen who, in
November 1918, signed the armistice that ended World War I.
After four years of valiant fighting, the German army was
exhausted. The Kaiser had fled. The vaunted General Staff was in
despair. The generals begged the statesmen to sign the
capitulation, in order to save what could be saved.
But according to Nazi legend, the very opposite had happened.
The statesmen who had signed the armistice were traitors. They
had stuck a knife into the back of the victorious army. The Nazi
propaganda wizard, Joseph Goebbels, taught his pupils that by
constant repetition one can turn a lie into truth, and the
bigger the lie, the easier it is to get it accepted.
The incitement against the "Novemberverbrecher" (November
criminals) succeeded. They were murdered, and the Nazis became a
democratically elected government.
The campaign against the "Oslo Criminals" was successful, too.
Rabin was murdered and the incitement assumes ever-growing
dimensions. By this means, the extreme rightwing and the
settlers hope to take over the state. According to the
well-known recipe, they repeat the historic lie endlessly, so
that by now it is widely accepted as gospel truth. The media
repeat it as a self-evident fact. The "left", or what is left of
the "left", looks on as if hypnotized, unable to respond.
The historic truth is, of course, that it's not the creators of
the Oslo agreement who have caused a historic disaster, but its
murderers. If there are "Oslo criminals"' they are the people
who have undermined the agreement from its inception, prevented
its implementation and, by a stubborn sabotage campaign,
succeeded in derailing it.
a basis for peace, the Oslo agreement was not a good agreement.
It could not be good, because the objective circumstances were
bad. The balance of power between Israel and the Palestinians
was something like 100:1. According to all criteria - political,
military, economic, technological and what not - Israel enjoyed
an immense superiority. The success of the first intifada did
somewhat redress the imbalance and make a compromise easier, but
the situation was still far from a reasonable balance. Arafat
was not so wrong when he told his people that this was "the best
agreement possible in the worst circumstances."
Considering this, the Oslo agreement was better than it might
have been. It enabled an enormous achievement: the recognition
of the State of Israel by the Palestinian people, and the
recognition of the Palestinian people and its liberation
organization by the State of Israel. Until then, each side had
denied the very existence of the other. This mutual recognition
is an irreversible historical fact.
There is no need to enumerate the faults of the agreement,
headed by the default to define its final aim. It outlined a set
of interim stages without stipulating where they would lead. It
set a time-table that was much too long. The commitments of the
two sides were formulated vaguely. These faults were not the
result of carelessness, as many (especially Palestinians)
believe, but were put into the agreement quite intentionally,
especially by the Israeli army officers who, by request of
Rabin, changed many paragraphs at the last moment.
In the Israeli peace camp, many saw the faults clearly, but
after a heated internal debate, most of us decided to support
the agreement in spite of them. Our main argument was that after
the historic mutual recognition, an irreversible peace dynamic
would drive the process forward.
I am convinced even today that if things had been pushed forward
rapidly, the Oslo agreement would have led to peace. At the
time, we asked Rabin to heed the warning of former British Prime
Minister David Lloyd-George who had said (about the Irish
problem) that one cannot cross an abyss in two jumps. Rabin, a
decent but hesitant person, was afraid to rush things. He
himself drove the first nail into the coffin of Oslo by
declaring that "there are no sacred dates". By doing so he
justified the first violations of the agreement and allowed the
antagonistic forces in Israel time to regroup for the
Palestinians, the agreement caused immense euphoria. I was an
eyewitness to the explosion of joy on the day of signing.
Attacks in Israel stopped for a long time. The Palestinians were
convinced that in return for their major concessions (in Oslo,
the Palestinians officially gave up 78% of mandatory Palestine)
the Palestinian state would soon come into being in all the
occupied territories, including East Jerusalem.
It did not happen. One after another, successive Israeli
governments refused to carry out their obligations, arguing that
the other side, too, had violated the agreement. Israel has
still not implemented the third withdrawal, which should have
liberated almost all the West Bank (Area C) three years ago.
Until today, the four promised "safe passages" between Gaza and
the West Bank have not been opened. Settlement activity has
continued on an ever-increasing scale. The economic and human
situation in the territories has got worse daily. (For example:
before Oslo, every Palestinian could travel freely in Israel
proper and between Gaza and the West Bank, including Jerusalem.
Oslo put an end to that.)
Palestinian side, disappointment has created a dangerous
situation. On the Israeli side, opposition turned aggressive and
violent. The murder of Rabin, the deed of an individual
expressing the will of a large camp, was the beginning of the
murder of Oslo. The enemies of Oslo have come to power in
Israel, and they are still running our state.
All the Oslo processes have been turned on their head, and no
other solution has taken their place. The bloody cycle of
attack-retaliation- suicide-assassination has started again.
When the logic of peace gave way to the logic of war, all the
achievements of Oslo assumed an opposite character. For example:
the 40 thousand armed Palestinians, who were allowed to enter
the Palestinian territories in order to serve as a solid
foundation for the Palestinian state and safeguard peace and
security, turned into an arm of the uprising against the
continuing occupation. The Palestinian Authority, which was
meant to be the nucleus of the state-in-the-making, became the
center of the intifada.
this would have been avoided, and peace between the two states
would have become a reality long ago, had we moved forward
quickly and resolutely on the Oslo road. The murderers of Oslo
have prevented this - and they are mostly on the Israeli side,
because we are the stronger party.
The slogan "Indict the Oslo Criminals" should be turned against
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