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oslo accord

  • Oslo Accord architect Ron Pundak dies at 59

    Ron Pundak, one of the architects of the Oslo Accord, died Friday at the age of 59. In 1993, Pundak, an expert on Middle East history, was working under Yossi Beilin, who was then the Israeli deputy foreign minister. At the time, Israel was holding formal negotiations in Washington with a Palestinian team, but the talks were heading nowhere and the promise of the Rabin government seemed to be fading away. Along with Yair Hirschfeld, Pundak initiated a secret back channel between Israeli and PLO officials (contact with PLO members was still illegal when Rabin took office), first in London…

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  • The rejectionist: Netanyahu and the peace talks

    The Palestinian leadership changed, the political circumstances shifted, administrations came and went, but every round of talks involving Netanyahu follows the same dynamic, and ends the same way. When talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed last summer, a couple of pollsters asked Israelis whether they think Prime Minister Netanyahu actually supports the two-state solution – which, at least in theory, was the agreed-upon goal of the process. The results didn’t receive enough attention at the time: one poll, published on Channel 2’s website, found that 50 percent of the public didn’t think Netanyahu genuinely adopted the two-state solution, as…

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  • Oslo years, a view from the ground

    I was sent to the Occupied Palestinian Territories on the day the Accords were signed, and got to spend the Oslo years in uniform. Twenty years ago I was in the final section of "advanced training” in my infantry unit, five months into my mandatory service in the IDF. We were about to go to Gaza - our first taste of active military assignments. The massive protests of the First Intifada had ceased by then, and service in the occupied territories was considered a relatively easy and risk-free mission. The real attention was given to southern Lebanon, where units like…

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  • What's the big deal about a Knesset member acknowledging the occupation?

    A Facebook post expressing shock and dismay about the occupation by new MK Adi Koll of the 'centrist' Yesh Atid party went viral over the weekend. Has segregation between Israelis and Palestinians become so entrenched in Israeli society that expressing empathy for Palestinians is a shocking aberration? After reading MK Adi Koll's Facebook status that Noam Sheizaf translated and posted, which has gone viral in both Hebrew and English since it came out Sunday, I paused and thought to myself: Why is this getting so much attention? What's the big deal? Okay, a Knesset member posted a comment about how awful…

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  • The Israeli negotiator who thinks the two-state solution is still possible

    Veteran Israeli negotiator Shaul Arieli discusses the failure of the Oslo Accords, various Israeli prime ministers' commitment (or lack thereof) to ending the occupation, and the only solution he believes both sides could live with, however unsatisfied they might be with it.  Shaul Arieli is a man on a dual mission: educating Israelis about the conflict and diplomatic process with the Palestinians, and making the point that the two-state solution is both possible and necessary. His latest publication in Hebrew, A Border between Us and You (Yeditoth Ahronoth Books 2013), is a 500-page handbook to the history of the conflict, with an emphasis on…

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  • An agreement on indefinite occupation: Oslo celebrates 19 years

    Regardless of the intentions of the people signing it, there is no denying what the Oslo Accords and the Paris Protocol have become: providers of the legal framework and international legitimacy for the oppression of millions.  Today, 19 years ago, hours before the Oslo agreement was signed in Washington, I set foot for the first time in Gaza. Our unit was sent for a week of foot patrols and flying checkpoints. Our commanders, who had been to the West Bank and Gaza in the past, were shocked to see the PLO flags that marked the signing of the agreement hanging…

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  • How we created 'the world's only prison where prisoners must provide for themselves'

    A surprisingly candid op-ed from a high-level Israeli official explains the role the Oslo Accords played in allowing Israel to maintain the occupation. Dov Weisglass, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's righthand man, recently had another very candid moment. After Before the disengagement from Gaza, Weisglass gave a famous interview to Haaretz in which he was honest about the rationale behind the move: the desire to fill the diplomatic vacuum and secure Israeli control of the West Bank forever. Last week he went back to Oslo. Weisglass published an interesting op-ed in Ynet in which he explained the value of the 1993 Accords from a…

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  • The profitable occupation, and why it is never discussed

    An understanding of the profitable side of the occupation - way more considerable than most people imagine – could force us to change our entire political thinking. Ami Kaufman (on his +972 blog) and Emily Hauser (Open Zion) join the debate regarding the financial burden the occupation puts on the Israeli economy. As Ami notes, this is something that goes hand in hand with the conversation on J14 (a.k.a the "social justice" protest). Terminating the occupation and the expensive settlement project, the saying goes, would benefit Israeli economy more than any other measure the protesters offer. As both Emily and…

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  • The man who invented the PA calls for it to be dismantled

    Yossi Beilin, one of the architects of the Oslo Accords, calls on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to put an end to the 'fig leaf' that is the Palestinian Authority. This is as big as an op-ed gets: Yossi Beilin, the Israeli architect of the Oslo process, has published a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, urging him to shut down the Palestinian Authority and let Prime Minister Netanyahu bear direct responsibility for the fate of the Palestinians under Israeli control. Do not hesitate for a moment! Do not accept the request of President Obama, who merely wants to be left…

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  • The Palestinians have abandoned Oslo

    The Palestinian leadership realized the sham of the Oslo Accords, and is moving on If any proof was necessary to understand Palestinians must leave the old paths and strike their own way, the response of Finance Minister Steinitz to the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah provided it. Steinitz announced (Hebrew) he is withholding transferring of tax funds to the Palestinian Authority – taxes which are collected by Israel for the Palestinians, which it is beholden to provide – as a protest. This isn’t the first time Israel uses this schtick, of stealing Palestinian funds and then holding to ransom; it…

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  • IDF document: "Policy principle: separating Gaza from West Bank"

    An IDF Powerpoint slideshow, presented before the Turkel committee for the investigation of the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla, reveals the official goals of the Israeli policy regarding the Gaza strip. The slideshow, prepared by The Administration for the Coordination of Government Policy in the Territories – the IDF body in charge of carrying out Israeli government policies regarding the civilian population in the West Bank and Gaza – deals with the humanitarian conditions in the strip; with food, water, fuel and electricity supply and with the condition of medical facilities in Gaza. download the IDF slideshow [Hebrew] here…

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