Why The Oslo Accords Were Doomed From The Beginning

Jeff Cunningham
4 min readSep 13, 2023

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Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (left) and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat (right) shake hands at the White House in front of President Bill Clinton in September 1993. (Photo: CBN)

1993

In the lead-up to the historic handshake, uncertainty loomed. Israel's Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, stood on the South Lawn of the White House, clearly uneasy about sharing the stage with Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian guerrilla leader who had long been Israel's staunchest and most violent enemy.

However, as the final signatures were affixed to Israel's peace agreement with Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization, the Oslo Accords, President Clinton leaned over and offered a final plea.

Moments later, with both arms extended, Clinton gently encouraged the two men to come together. This awkward handclasp symbolized the remarkable transformation in the relationship between Israel and the PLO. It was an organization that had once vowed to eradicate the Jewish state.

The problem was that the appearance would undergo a charm offensive, but the goal would remain the same.

Thirty Years Later

Despite Israel's aspirations for peace, the Oslo Accords have been a resounding failure.

After gaining control of territories handed over to the Palestinian Arabs, Arafat transformed them into a massive hub for terrorism. Since the signing of the Accords, Palestinian terrorists have claimed the lives of approximately 2,000 Israelis in acts of violence. This is irrefutable and inexcusable. It was organized, mindless violence against innocent people.

But in return for what?

Terrorist attacks saw a rapid increase following the implementation of the accords, including devastating bus bombings in 1996. Arafat further derailed peace talks at Camp David in 2000, rejecting a favorable deal that would have granted Palestinian Arabs an independent state covering most of the disputed territory.

Effectively, Oslo came to an end, a victim of Arafat's actions, although some continue to pretend it persists today. Tragically, many lives have been lost due to the Oslo Accords, and the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs are now bleaker than they were in 1993.

However, there have been some positive outcomes. The accords allowed King Hussein of Jordan to make peace with Israel. Additionally, the deceitful behavior of Arafat and his successor, Abbas, led several Arab states to become disillusioned with them and prioritize their interests. This resulted in peace agreements between Israel and several Arab nations.

Yasser Arafat and the PLO never embraced the accords as peace agreements. Arafat likened them to the Hudaybiyyah agreement signed by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, using it as a pretext to advance his agenda. The PLO's 10-point plan from the 1970s, which aimed to use any territory gained as a base for continued attacks on Israel, remained unchanged.

Italian journalist Fiamma Nirenstein had a revealing encounter with Arafat, where she asked him to draw the border of the Palestinian state on a map. His furious reaction indicated that he saw the agreement as a means to repudiate and condemn Israel's existence rather than a path to peace. In its eagerness for normalcy, Israel seemed to forget Arafat's long history of terrorism, including the Munich Olympics massacre in 1972. Violence was his weapon of choice.

Despite Israel's diligent efforts to implement the accords, the Palestinian side made minimal progress. Peace, which seemed so promising in 1993, was shattered less than a decade later by the Second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising.

Author's note: Unfortunately, you will not find an accurate representation of the actual reasons Oslo failed in the mainstream media. As someone who grew up in Israel among Arabs and Jews, I can vouch that an uprising in violence was marked by Palestine becoming a vassal state of Iran.

It began in the 1980s when Tehran renewed its extensive sponsorship in ways that contributed directly to bloodshed in Palestine and Gaza. Despite their Sunni/Shia schism, after emerging in the 1980s as a Sunni jihadist offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas drafted a formal charter that enshrined the goals of destroying Israel and fighting "the warmongering Jews."

Hamas began forging significant connections with Iran during the early 1990s when Iran hosted two conferences on Palestine between 1990 and 1991. Iran found an opportunity to challenge the "Great Satan" (Persian: شيطان بزرگ Shaytân-e Bozorg), a derogatory term used in Muslim-majority countries to refer to the United States. Coupled with the rallying cry of "Death to America," the violence in Israel achieved two critical objectives for Iran. Firstly, it elevated Iran's influence among Arab Sunni nations that held hatred towards Israel and Jews, even though Iran practiced Shia Islam, a minority faith in these countries. Syria was a notable exception, being Iran's puppet in this regard.

Secondly, it offered a means to divert and manipulate the United States through peace initiatives while offering nothing substantial in return except temporary restraint on their proxies' terrorist activities.

During the beginning of this period, the U.S. Department of State reported that Palestinian terrorism accounted for 193 attacks, constituting 37% of the total worldwide. The Middle East Review corroborated that "Iran's connections to Hezbollah and the Palestinians heightening the potential for employing terrorism as a tool to advance their political objectives."

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