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Who Says the Oslo Accords Were a Mistake?


There has been a spate of articles and petitions by Israelis, and now there is a petition by Palestinians, (see here ) insisting that the Oslo accords were a mistake to start with. That may be, but most of the people on either side who insist that the accords were a mistake are people who were against the accords from the start - because they didn't want to grant rights to the other side.

It is one thing to view the Oslo accords from the perspective of those who believe in peace and equality for two nations, and to say, "this way did not work." It is quite different to begin with the idea that Palestinians or Jews do not deserve self determination, work very hard to make the Oslo agreements fail, and then when they do fail, say "You see, I told you so!"

For example two of the signers of the Palestinian petition are Bassam Shaka and Hisham Sharabi. Shaka is the deposed mayor of Nablus who lost both his legs in a terrorist bombing perpetrated by Israeli extremists. He is affiliated with Syrian anti-Oslo groups, and is a veteran petition signer. He is also a voice for reform in the PNA - to make it more democratic, but also more subservient to Syrian ideas.

Hisham Sharabi is a Palestinian-American intellectual who called for the Intifada in 1999.

In 1999, Hisham Sharabi wrote:

The third and probably most important option – and the one likely to be central in the next phase – is long-term national struggle to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, restore Arab and Muslim Jerusalem, dismantle the Jewish settlements, and establish an independent Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel.
What form would the struggle option take?
It would claim the right to all legitimate forms of struggle, from non-violent forms of resistance to classical forms of armed struggle. From a political point of view, however, non-violent struggle is probably the more effective one in the long run. Yet, if the present conditions of repression and humiliation continue, wide-scale violence could prove to be the more likely option. Opting for national struggle is bound to enhance uncontrollable individual acts of self-sacrifice, the ultimate power of the powerless.
Popular resistance, which is likely to bring back the intifada, will simultaneously lead to building alliances and grassroots organizations, like the ones that emerged spontaneously in the early days of the original intifada (which was snuffed out by the PLO leadership in Tunis). If this succeeds by the turn of the century, this new post-patriarchal liberation struggle will regain the human face of the first intifada and win the support of progressive forces the world over, including the support of progressive Jewish forces in Israel and the United States.
In the next phase of struggle, a heavy responsibility will fall upon the shoulders of the diaspora Palestinians, the largest group of Palestinians. This group will have to carry out the task of putting together the financial and administrative structures necessary for extending all kinds of support to the Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and in the diaspora as well, in economic aid, educational and social assistance, and broad political support.
(More - here ).

This article from the Jerusalem Post tells us a bit about Bassam Shaka:

Wednesday, December 1, 1999 22 Kislev 5760 Updated Wed., Dec. 01 09:35

Jailed Palestinian dissidents soften criticism of PA
By Lamia Lahoud

JERUSALEM (December 1) - Six Palestinian dissidents, including five held in a Palestinian Authority jail, backed away yesterday from charges that PA Chairman Yasser Arafat is directly responsible for widespread government corruption.

Those detained signed statements in their jail cells saying that they did not intend to "harm the name of the Palestinian leader ... or create strife among the Palestinian people."

The sixth, Palestinian legislator Hussam Khader, issued a similar statement to the Palestinian daily Al Quds.

Meanwhile, yesterday some PA officials accused Syria of instigating the petition.

A PA official who did not want to be identified said that Syria wants to create problems for the PA and disrupt the peace talks with Israel. He said the petition was likely another act of Syria's anti-Arafat campaign, which started with the arrests and trials of Arafat loyalists in the Palestinian refugee camps in south Lebanon.

PA Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nabil Amr said: "I believe there is a connection between Syrian anti-Arafat television broadcasts, the arrests and trials of Arafat loyalists in south Lebanon, and the petition."

"It is known to the PA that the petition was fabricated abroad," added one PA source. He implied that one of the Palestinian Legislative Council members who signed the petition has close relations with Jordan, and suggested that Jordan was also involved in the leaflet. He pointed to the new relationship between King Abdullah and Syrian President Hafez Assad's son Bashar.

Hassan Khreisheh, head of the council's human rights and oversight committee, said the petition was entirely a local initiative meant to draw attention to the perils posed by PA abuses."We are not serving the interests of anyone except our people," Khreisheh said. "We are against all the Arab regimes. We are independent, we are with Palestine."

Several of the signatories have strong nationalist credentials, including prison sentences and deportation by Israel for anti-occupation activities.

One of them, Hossam Khader, a former Fatah youth leader in Balata refugee camp, was the first deportee of the intifada.

El-Bireh mayor Abdel Jawad Saleh, another signatory, spent 20 years in exile after being dumped by IDF soldiers into the desert along the border with Jordan in 1973. He was elected by a landslide in the 1996 polling for the legislative council.

Amr said the PA was not sure that Syria was behind the petition, but said the possibility was being investigated.

In remarks at a gathering hosted by the Palestine-Israel journal last night, PA Minister Ziyad Abu Zayyad also pointed to a Syrian connection. "The leaflet has representatives of factions sitting now in Damascus, who are trying to sabotage us and make pressure against us," he said.

The PA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that former Nablus mayor Bassam Shaka, who has close links to Syria, was one of signatories.

"Shaka is the only Palestinian in the territories ,who is a founding member of the Salvation Front in Syria, and he is known to travel frequently to Damascus," the official said.

Shaka was released from three days of house arrest by PA police yesterday, Palestinian sources said.

Shaka was one of those who demanded that the radical PLO groups PFLP and DFLP, be expelled from the Salvation Front, after they engaged in a National Dialogue with Arafat's Fatah, and agreed to participate in the final status talks, the sources pointed out.

The PFLP issued a statement in Damascus , on Monday, condemning the arrests of the signatories. In the leaflet the PFLP vowed to continue to fight corruption.

(Ben Lynfield and news agencies contributed to this report.)

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