AN OSLO SCORECARD

The Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation in 1993 and 1995 committed both parties to a range of obligations. Since then, claims of "Oslo violations" have come thick and fast. The interim agreements were intended to build trust between the protagonists in the run-up to negotiations on a final settlement, due next March. As is clear from this report, however, Israel has little reason to regard the PLO as a trustworthy partner, and little hope of future peaceful coexistence with a Palestinian regime.

ISRAEL HAS:

Recognised the PLO

… legalising contact with the previously outlawed organisation, and paving the way for cooperation and negotiation towards a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Granted amnesty for serious crimes

… allowing Yasser Arafat and other exiled PLO activists to return to the disputed territories, granting immunity against trial and conviction relating to their involvement in planning and/or perpetrating hundreds of acts of terror worldwide.

Released thousands of security prisoners

… including many involved in murder of Israelis.

Ceded authority

… allowing Arafat to establish a self-rule authority, and to establish and lightly arm a police force, while entering negotiations over the opening of a seaport and airport in Gaza, and the right of "safe passage" between Gaza and PA-ruled areas in Judea-Samaria.

Relinquished territory

… first ceding Jericho and most of the Gaza Strip, then six major Arab towns in Judea-Samaria (Jenin, Tulkarm, Nablus (Shechem), Kalkilya, Ram'Allah and Bethlehem), hundreds of villages in Judea-Samaria, and finally Hebron.

Stimulated the Palestinian economy

… encouraging donor nations to invest in and contribute financially to the Palestinian autonomous area, and permitting large numbers of Palestinians to enter Israel-proper every day to work.

Fostered an atmosphere of peace

… organising and financing educational programmes, many beginning at primary school level, aimed at highlighting the benefits of a peaceful settlement with the Arabs.

ISRAEL HAS NOT:

Met deadline to cede further territory

… negotiations about further troop withdrawals have been dragging out for months, with Israel insisting the Palestinians first meet its security obligations.

Reached agreement over "safe passage" and airport/seaport in Gaza

… talks have stalled over differences between the parties over security-related issues.

THE PLO HAS:

Recognised Israel's right to exist

… officially paving the way for cooperation and negotiation towards a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Officially ended the mass 1987-1993 intifada

,,, and to employ its police to maintain law and order.

Officially undertaken to end incitement and violence

… and to cooperate with Israel to combat terrorism.

THE PLO HAS NOT:

Amended the Palestinian Covenant

… to remove all clauses calling for Israel's destruction.

Fostered an atmosphere of peace and tolerance

… even Palestinian children are used as weapons in the propaganda war against Israel.

Stopped incitement to violence

… including calls for jihad (holy war), and a resumption of the intifada. Official PA media regularly broadcast and publish such messages, made by PA leaders.

Held democratic elections and established a democratic regime

… the 1996 elections were not free and fair, marred by intimidation, biased media coverage, and by the fact election rules were crafted by Arafat in a way that favoured Fatah loyalists. The elected legislature has been powerless against corruption and cronyism. Its efforts to fight graft resulted in Arafat's recent appointment of a new cabinet weighed heavily in favour of Fatah (and retaining three ministers accused of financial impropriety).

Established democratic practices

… thus violating its undertakings to carry out its tasks "with due regard to internationally-accepted norms and principles of human rights and the rule of law". Many international and Arab human rights groups have reported on violations including arbitrary arrests, detention, torture, deaths in custody and curbs against press freedom. Land-dealers suspected of selling property to Jews have been killed. Christian converts from Islam have alleged maltreatment at the hands of the PA, which has confirmed its law is based on shar'ia law—and that conversion from Islam is a capital offence.

Fought unceasingly against terrorism

… the PA has mollycoddled the Islamic group Hamas, invited it to join the PA cabinet, recruited Hamas terror suspects into the PA security forces, and failed to disarm members of Hamas and other armed groups. When lesser activists involved in terror attacks are caught and tried (under pressure from Israel or the US), they are routinely quickly released in what Israel has dubbed the PA's "revolving door" policy.

Extradited to Israel suspects in terror attacks

… refusing numeous official requests for particular suspects to be handed over for trial.

Protected "collaborators"

… harassing, threatening, jailing and in some cases torturing Palestinians accused of previously cooperating with the Israeli authorities.

Honoured the Oslo provisions regarding its "police force"

… expanding its force way beyond the size allowed by Oslo, recruiting known members of Hamas terror cells, stockpiling weapons, some of which are prohibited under the Oslo Accords, and failing to present Israel with lists of the names of its policemen.

Encouraged an end to the campaign to isolate Israel economically

… on the contrary, calling openly for sanctions against Israel (most recently in August 1998, when Arafat made the appeal during a visit to South Africa).

Provided information which could help locate Israeli soldiers missing in action

… as specified in signed agreements.

Honoured the Oslo requirement that it not operate in Jerusalem

… deploying undercover PA policemen in the city, who have kidnapped and arrested Arab journalists, human rights activists, suspected collaborators, and people suspected of "moral crimes". Furthermore, the PA maintains several government offices in Jerusalem, including an effective foreign ministry at Orient House, receiving foreign dignitaries despite Israeli objections.

Refrained from conducting foreign relations

… both the PLO and the PA have initiated and engaged in diplomatic efforts, at bodies such as the Arab League and United Nations.

Safeguarded and ensured free access to holy sites

… in mid-August, PA policemen prevented Jewish worshippers from entering the site of Joseph's Tomb in Nablus (Shechem), during a disagreement about the right of Jews to spend the night there. A year earlier, PA police entered a Hebron monastery belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, physically removed monks and nuns, and took over the site on behalf of another church faction. During riots in September 1996, PA policemen were involved in assaults on Jewish holy sites in Bethlehem and Shechem (where six Israeli soldiers guarding the site were shot dead, and sacred texts were wilfully destroyed).


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