Oslo's post-traumatic stress disorder
by Jonathan Rosenblum
Jerusalem Post International Edition
May 11, 2001
After meeting April 11 with Yasir Arafat, Oslo architect Yossi Beilin was interviewed by Israel Television. In the course of that interview, Beilin accused Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of triggering the current intifada by his September 29 visit to the Temple Mount. Beilin was also sharply critical of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak for its submission of a report to the Mitchell Commission blaming Arafat for the outbreak of violence.
Beilin surely knows that Barak would have liked nothing better than to attribute the renewed intifada to Sharon. Doing so, would have given him a campaign issue against Sharon and sustained the Oslo illusion a little longer. That Barak did not do so admits of only one explanation: he knew that Sharon was not to responsible.
As Justice Minister in the Barak government, Beilin also knows that. He was privy to army intelligence reports as early as June predicting that Arafat would initiate mass violence in the territories that might well spiral out of control into an all-out conflagration. Even in the midst of the Camp David Summit, Abu-Ali Mustafa, a member of the Palestinian Authority described in Al-Quds preparations for violent confrontations ``to create new facts on the ground." Palestinian Minister of Communications, Imad Al-Falouji told a December 5 symposium of Arab journalists in Gaza that the Palestinian Authority began preparations for the current intifada, at Arafat’s request, immediately after Camp David.
At one level, Beilin knows all this. Yet he cannot admit it. Why?
The answer to that question provides another window into the messianic mindset afflicting Beilin and the remaining believers in the Oslo process. Beilin has famously remarked that he cannot live in a world in which peace is impossible. That cri de coeur has been transformed by his febrile mind into proof that peace is possible.
Those who placed all their hopes in Oslo are suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome in the wake of the renewed intifada. Among other things, the outbreak of organized and lethal violence, following former Prime Minister Barak’s extraordinarily generous proposals at Camp David, made clear that the Palestinians will not compromise on the ``right of return," and that their goal remains, in the words of the ``moderate" Faisal Husseini, the PA’s minister for Jerusalem affairs, a Palestine ``from the Jordan to the Mediterranean." Even such leading doves as Amos Oz admit that ``the right of return" means nothing less than ``eradicating Israel."
But if no compromise can be expected from the Palestinians on their maximalist demands, how is peace to be achieved? And if their can be no peace in this generation, how can one go on living? That is the problem confronting Beilin and his fellow messianists.
To preserve the possibility of peace, they must perforce cast Israel as the source of all evil and continue to advocate yet further Israeli concessions. After all, as the last year has shown, there are no clear limits to the possible Israeli concessions.
The need to portray Israel as more sinning than sinned against is thus a psychological necessity for the Oslo messianists. Days after the lynch in Ramallah, Meretz founder Shulamit Aloni gave an interview in the prestigious Le Monde in which she characterized Israeli actions during the current intifada as war crimes. she had not one kind word to say for Israel nor one criticism of the Palestinians. Opposition leader Yossi Sarid advised Arafat this week that he should refuse any cease fire, as long as there is not an absolute freeze on all building in settlements, which according to the Palestinians’ definition includes a dozen Jerusalem neighborhoods.
The Peace Now/Gush Shalom website features caricatures of Israeli soldiers massacring Arab children, and such brain teasers as ``What was the first settler genocide against a West Bank city?" Answer: the killing of the men of Shechem after the rape and abduction of Dina. Apparently genocide is just in Jewish blood.
While the influence of the messianists on Israeli society has plummeted since October, their international influence is growing. Every charge against Israel finds its way immediately into the international media. Thus when Jeff Halper of the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions, an organization funded by the European Community, charged that the Jerusalem municipality planned to raze 6,000 Arab homes in Jerusalem, the charge was reported as fact by Amnesty International and in the international media, even though the actual number of demolition orders was 152.
Rabbis for Human Rights has run an international fundraising campaign to replant Palestinian olive trees allegedly uprooted by settlers in the Palestinian town of Hares, even though no Palestinian ever filed a police complaint. Various peace groups coordinate anti-Israel boycott activity with representatives of the European Union, and are, in many cases, funded by the EU.
Oslo may be dead, but the messianic dream lives on, and continues to pose a real threat to Israel.
Related Topics: Israeli Society
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