This Op-Ed, by Aaron Lerner, originally appeared in The Jerusalem
Post on May 5:This Op-Ed, by Aaron Lerner, originally appeared in The Jerusalem
Post on May 5:
"I think we are witnessing the last gasps of violence by those
Palestinians who want to block this accord," Labor MK Yossi Beilin
told Jerusalem Post reporter David Makovsky on November 30, 1993.
Beilin has never been big on Palestinian violations of the Oslo
Accords. When he was deputy foreign minister, he even asked AIPAC
to stop compiling reports on PLO compliance. And today he is doing
his best to minimize their significance.
Beilin and his fellow travelers have a problem with Binyamin
Netanyahu. It appears he may actually insist on some measure of
Palestinian compliance before continuing down the Oslo path. In
fact, the Ministerial Committee for National Security set some
clear requirements, including the confiscation of illegal weapons
and action on extraditing suspected terrorists, something few
observers believe the Palestinians will ever do.
Days before the signing of the Declaration of Principles, Amos Oz
wrote in The Jerusalem Post: "Once peace comes, Israeli doves, more
than other Israelis, must assume a clear-cut 'hawkish' attitude
concerning the duty of the future Palestinian regime to live by the
letter and spirit of its obligations."
Since then Oz, Beilin, and the rest of the Left have done just the
opposite. If Oslo was truly just an "experiment," as Beilin and
others originally presented it, then it wouldn't be such a disaster
if it failed. But as Beilin now readily admits, Oslo was not a
test but an attempt by the Labor-Meretz coalition to create
permanent Palestinian facts on the ground before the 1996
The Left was determined to make the establishment of a Palestinian
state in the West Bank and Gaza unstoppable, regardless of the
decision made by the Israeli electorate in its first chance to vote
on the issue since Oslo became more than a city in Norway.
Why the rush to oblivion? In Friday's Jerusalem Post, Beilin made
the simplistic argument that as long as Israel continues to make
concessions ("progress in peace negotiations") there won't be a
war. He conveniently avoids the logical extension of that argument:
that war will break out when Israel has nothing left to concede.
Indeed the concessions made before that day of reckoning will make
the "war option" that much more attractive to Arabs.
Now Netanyahu is doing the little he can under the agreement which
Beilin and his colleagues drafted. Israel can build settlements,
set the extent of further redeployments, and require strict
controls on Palestinian ports.
These same agreements require the PLO to break up and disarm
Palestinian militias, extradite terrorists to Israel for trial, and
refrain from incitement. In other words Israel is acting legally
and the PLO isn't. It's Palestinian intransigence that keeps their
ports closed, not Israeli stonewalling.
So instead of talking about violations of the agreements, Beilin
talks about violations of some amorphous "spirit of Oslo," giving
equal footing in his "five-point plan" to legal Jewish construction
and illegal Palestinian arms smuggling. And instead of calling for
an end to Palestinian terror, Beilin opts for a mutual call against
terror and violence, knowing full well that this means bolstering
the Palestinian equation between suicide bombers and bulldozers on
Har Homa. His plan calls for an immediate further redeployment in
return for Palestinian "commitments." That's not land for peace,
that's land for words.
It's bad enough that Beilin and his ilk are doing everything they
can to deny Israel its moral advantage in the court of world
opinion. But this isn't the only reality which they have distorted.
The "Beilin-Mahmoud Abbas plan" may also not be what Beilin has
been telling the public. According to Dr. Khalil Shikaki of the
Center for Palestine Research and Studies in Nablus, there are "two
readings of the same document... There is no such thing as an
accurate reflection of the document. It's a question of how people
see it. Both sides tell the people what they want to see in it."
What drives Beilin to ignore the obvious? I'll leave that to the
psychologists. After all, here is a man who, instead of dealing
with the world as it is, insists on "convincing himself that
everything will be OK... I simply am not prepared to live in a
world where things can't be solved," (Ha'aretz, March 7, 1997).
We all share Beilin's hope that our problems can be solved. But
that doesn't mean ignoring reality to get there.