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Daniel Pipes asks “What went wrong?” with Oslo:

Many things, but most important was that the deal rested on a faulty Israeli premise that Palestinians had given up their hope of destroying the Jewish state. This led to the expectation that if Israel offered sufficient financial and political incentives, the Palestinians would formally recognize the Jewish state and close down the conflict.

Israelis therefore pushed themselves to make an array of concessions, in the futile hope that flexibility, restraint and generosity would win Palestinian goodwill. In fact, these steps made matters worse by sending signals of apparent demoralization and weakness. Each concession further reduced Palestinian awe of Israeli might, made Israel seem more vulnerable and incited irredentist dreams of annihilating it.

The result was a radicalized and mobilized Palestinian body politic. In speech and actions, via claims to the entire land of Israel and the murder of Israelis, the hope of destroying Israel acquired ever-more traction.

Thus did the muted Palestinian mood at Oslo’s start in 1993 turn into the enraged ambition evident today.


Pipes also offers a new roadmap, but it’s a hard road to follow:

* Acknowledge the faulty presumption that underlay both Oslo and the road map (Palestinian acceptance of Israel’s existence).

* Resolve not to repeat the same mistake.

* Understand that diplomacy aiming to close down the Arab-Israeli conflict is premature until Palestinians give up their anti-Zionist fantasy.

* Make Palestinian acceptance of Israel’s existence the primary goal.

* Impress on Palestinians that the sooner they accept Israel, the better off they will be. Conversely, so long they pursue their horrid goal of extermination, diplomacy will remain moribund and they will receive no financial aid, arms or recognition as a state.

* Give Israel license not just to defend itself but to impress on the Palestinians the hopelessness of their cause.

It sounds like Pipes’ main message is to the State Department. And it says, “Butt out.”


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