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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 21, 2018 PAGE 15A added that it also was an op- portunity for the Palestinians From page 1A to compromise. However, the situation documented handshakes on got worse he says because "it the White House lawn. didn't go anywhere. Twenty- KnessetSpeakerYuli Edel- five years later, the process stein: 'Oslo never stood a is dead; nothing happened. chance' It feels like it's all stuck. In Likud Party MK and cur- retrospect, it was the right rent Speaker of the Knesset thingtodo, nodoubt [signing Yuli Edelstein recalls exactly the accords], but while there where he was when the Oslo washope, optimismandNobei ceremonytookplaceinWash- Prizes, everythingvanished." ington."Iwasdrivingthrough Shai says that both sides Beit Lechem ]Bethlehem] share in the blame. "The when a group of Palestinians blame is mutual. In Israel, surrounded my car waving therewassignificantpolitical pictures of Yasser Arafat. It change that brought parties wasn'tapleasantexperience.I to power which were unwill- feltthatthiswasacelebration ing to compromise, like the of victory over us [Israel], not government today." one of peace." Even though Israeli Prime Edelstein, who at the time MinisterBenjaminNetanyahu was an adviser to then op- said at Bar-Ilan University in position leader Benjamin Ramat Gan that hewas in fa- Netanyahu, says that "the vor oftwostates, relates Shai, Oslo accords failed because "it just remains 'a speech.'" of the way they were built; it He says that "on the other never stood a chance. It was hand with the Palestinians, a fatal mistake from the first first Arafat initiated the Sec- moment." ond Intifada, which destroyed He explains that "it was [Oslo] totally, andPalestinian called Gaza and Jericho first Authority leader Abu Mazen [control over those areas [MahmoudAbbas]istoohesi- were quickly turned over to tant. So now, we are unable the P.A.]. How you can you to move anywhere. This was start by giving away land and a missed opportunity." calling it a peace process? As In regard to a potential I explained to a senior State U.S.-backed peace plan, Shai Department Official when I says he doesn't know what was a cabinet minister in the the Trump plan entails, but first Netanyahu government overall doesn't see anything [in 1996], it's like the joke realistic. "There is always a about the guy who jumps chance because this admin- fromthe20thfloor, andwhen istration and president are he passes the 10th floor, his unpredictable. But at this friends asks him how it's go- stage, it's hard to imagine ing, and he says, 'So far, so ]something positive]." good.' With Oslo, we jumped He concludes with "today I to the endwithout first laying am pessimistic. Iwouldlike to the foundations. We shouldn't be optimistic at this stage, but go into thebusiness of shaking I don'tsee any reasonfor hope. hands with terrorist leaders Maybe things will change. I and pretending that now we would like to see this govern- have a comprehensive peace ment, even Netanyahu, who agreement." has the power, to go further Edelstein says that for 25 [for peace]. And if he does, we years, nobody has had the [in the opposition] will give courage to officially admit himasafetynetifhedecidesto that this is a "dead end," and renew negotiations and open a to "stop pretending that we political process again, but so are in the middle of a process, far hehasn't chosenthispath." There is no Oslo; it's gone." Professor Khalil Shikaki: He says that"as the Knesset 'U.S. must behave like an speaker, I can say loud and honest broker' clear that there is no solu- Professor Khalil Shikaki tion to the Israeli Palestinian is the well-respected director conflict.Butstillweshouidn't of the Palestinian Center for sit on our hands. We should Policy and Survey Research, build coexistence in different based in Ramallah. His center ways--build a foundation releases in-depth studies ona for peace. It's not about two regular basis about Palestin- leaders shaking hands; it's ian attitudes, including their about collaboration with our thoughts on peace with Israel. neighbors, like Jordan and In regard to Oslo, Shikaki othersintheregionwhoknow says "there is doubt that this Israel is part of the solution, wasahugedisappointmenton not the problem. There won't all levels. This was supposed to be ceremonies, but there can bethebeginningofsomething be cooperation on issues that would be incredible for involving water, agriculture Israelis and Palestinians, and and in other fields." ended up being another road SowhileEdelsteinsaysOslo to further violence and war." is dead, he remains optimistic Shikaki says that Israel in the long term. shares most of the blame for "For me, one of the main Oslo's failure by not fulfill- lessons is that there are no ing its obligations under the shortcuts to peace. It's a long agreement. "Israel did not and painful process with ups transfer areas to the P.A. in and downs. In Judea and accordance with Oslo." He Samaria, we can take one adds that "Israel continued industrial zone with Arabs tobuildsettlementsandfailed and Jews working together, to negotiate permanent status and see more peace than the issues in accordance with the whole Oslo process together." agreement." As a result, he KnessetmemberNachman says that"the interim nature Shaft'It feels like it's all stuck' of Oslo became permanent," Zionist Union Party MK while agreements on those Nachman Shai, who serves final-status issues were post- as the Deputy Speaker of the poned. Knesset from the opposition, "Although it is not inevi- says that under Oslo things table, the next 25 years will got !'better and worse." Better, probably be years of conflict, he says, because "it created a rather than years of peace," frameworkandhelpedIsraelis adds Shikaki. "I doubt very finally accept the paradigm of much, based on the lessons 'two-states for two people." He of the past 25 years, that the Flash90 Thousands of right-wing lsraelis in Jerusalem protest the Oslo Accords, Oct. 5, 1995. two sides will have common ground. So there will be on and off periods of conflict." When asked whether it was a good idea for Israel to revitalize the PLO and allow its representatives to serve as Israel's address for peace talks, he says: "Guessing what might have happened if the PLO remained outside is highly speculative. Most likely, it would not have made a difference: It was Rabin who was assassinated, not Arafat; itwas Netanyahu--soon after his election in 1996--and not Arafat who froze the imple- mentation of Oslo." Shikaki believes thatAmer- ica can play a significant and positive role in the peace process, but only if it acts as what he dubs a "fair mediator." "Duringthe past 50 years, the Unite~ States played a constructi'e role in bring- ing peace o the region," he relates. "Bat the U.S. con- tribution was not enough to overcome lomestic [Israeli] constraints," such as "a lack of incentive on the part of Israel to move forward in ending the occupation, and giving the Palestinians the freedom and independence they desired." In otherwords Shikaki feels that"the U.S. didn't use equal leverage on Israel at it did on the Palestilians." He says that if he could speak to U.S. President Don- ald Trump, he would "ask for an effective mediator. At the moment, the Trump admin- istration is siding with Israel. It is not simply the lawyer for Israel it is one beyond that. Trump is strengthening right- wing tendencies in Israeli society and sustaining more extreme elements, rather than resolving the conflict. A mediator has to remove itself from internal politics and be an honest broker. The U.S. is doing anything in its power to destroy peacemaking. The U.S. must stop and behave as any honest broker would do." Shikaki's most recent re- search shows that the Pal- estinians also feel that Oslo is finished. He says that 2/3 of Palestinians say the P.A. should disnantle Oslo and instead create a sovereign entity without an agreement. A frighteniig statistic he says also reveak that while the majority oPalestinians don't support the use of violence at this juncture against Israel to achieve statehood, he says that number is increasing. "We are getting close," he says, to a majority that favors violence. Matan Peleg: 'They chose war, terror and corruption' Nati Shohat/Flash90 View of Route 60 near Jerusalem, the north-south inter- Matan Peleg is CEO of city road in Israel and the West Bank that stretches from the right-wing Im Tirzu Beersheva to Nazareth. Before Oslo, Palestinianslivedunder Movement, which according Israeli authority and could travel freely on the road. After to its website is the largest the Palestinian Authority assumed control over various grassroots Zionist movement cities, Israel established checkpoints on areas of the route in Israel. He believes that thatenteredPalestinianjurisdiction.Newroutes ofhighway while Oslo was meant to solve were paved so that Israeli traffic couM bypass the Palestinian the conflict, it started as "a towns in order to reduce friction, July 26, 2009. dream which became a night- mare"--onehesayscontinues people."TheE.U.andtheU.S. While Oppenheimer sees to the present, as "our leaders invested billions for the Arabs that in the current reality still didn't wake up." in Judea and Samaria. But Oslo remains frozen, he says Peleg says that Israel must where is the infrastructure? that "we have made some adopt anapproachof"victory." The roads? Hospitals? All the progress towards a two-state Israel's slogan under Oslowas money went to terror and solution.The Palestiniansare " 'You make peace with your corruption. The problem is running their own lives in enemies.' That approach is the Palestinians are trapped the West Bank; on the other flawed because your enemy in a false narrative. They hand, there is no peace on will always want to kill you. think Israel will disappear, the horizon." Peace you only make with We [Israel] need to see who Oppenheimer blames both your enemies after they are the real Arab leaders are who Israel and the Palestinians defeated." value peace and life, and we for not being ready to move He adds that Israel needs to should strengthen them." towards a final agreement. destroy the terror organiza- YarivOppenheimer:'Oslois But ironically, that's why he tions that seek to annihilate still alive and kicking' believes that"Oslo is still alive Israeli Jews, while at the same Yariv Oppenheimer is the and kicking." time help implement a new former director of the left- He explains that today's educationalcurriculumforthe wingPeaceNoworganization "reality is closer to what was next generation of Palestinian and currently an active board written in Oslo, so it is a suc- children--onethatdoesn't call member of that group, cessful agreement. Itwas sup- for the destruction of Israel. Oppenheimer says Oslo posed to be temporary--for a Pelegbelieves that the Oslo failed because of the extrem- periodoffiveyears--andonly "experiment"floppedbecause ists on both sides who were then were permanent status of the creation of the Pales- fighting against its imple- issues to be discussed." tinian Authority. "The P.A. is mentation. "The Oslo agree- However, Oppenheimer a corrupt organization that ments were like an ill patient says that "Israel's current failedin building a promising transported into the surgery leadership is still not ready future for the Arabs in Judea room so that he could be for apermanent status agree- and Samaria. They didn't healed.However, people[kept] ment. They are OK with the have a vision for life. Instead, coming into the room trying status quo and not ready to they chose war, terror and to unplug all the machines." move towards a final agree- corruption." He says that groups like ment." He says that if the Palestin- Hamas and the Israeli right- Fresh offameetingbetween. ians had decided to choose a wing were the ones fighting PeaceNowandAbbas, Oppen- "normal reality" instead,"we Oslo, both through demo- heimer says "there is now a could have had abetter life on cratic means and through willingness on the Palestinian both sides." non-democratic ones, citing side for a peace treaty, which In addition to cracking the murder of Rabin andmost Israelis would support. down on terror, Peleg says Is- the killing spree carried out However, thereisn'tthatsame rael has to expose the corrup- by Israeli Baruch Goldstein, willingnesson the Israeli side. tion of the P.A. if it is to work which claimed the lives of 29 What has to change is the towards a better future for its Palestinians. leadership in Israel." Yossi Zamir/Flash90 Palestinian police celebrate on their entrance to the city of Jericho, Friday May 13 1994. It was one of the first cities handed over to Palestinian Authority control in 1994, in ac- cordance with the Oslo Accords.