Weekly Commentary: Oslo - not the "occupation" is undermining Israel's
ethical, democratic and diplomatic foundations
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 17 December 2009
"The truth is harsh. The occupation is destroying Israel. It is undermining
Israel's ethical, democratic and diplomatic foundations."
So claims Haaretz Correspondent Ari Shavit in today's edition.
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."
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.
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.
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.
And Oslo - not the occupation - served to undermine Israel's diplomatic
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.
Again: We didn't get into this mess because of the "occupation". It's the
reckless ideologically blinded pro-withdrawal policies that got us into this
Is it too late to get the retreat genie back into the bottle?
Paradoxically, it may very well turn out that Israel's deteriorated
diplomatic situation may ultimately save the Jewish State by suckering the
Palestinians into take such an uncompromising hard line that Israelis unite
in rejecting their demands while key foreign actors find themselves stuck
conceding that, indeed, the failure to cut a deal can be attributed to the
Palestinian hard line.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
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