Amira Abo al-Fetouh
Middle East Eye / September 18, 2023
The 30th anniversary of the cursed Oslo Accords is upon us; 13 September 1993 was the day that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed an agreement with the Israeli enemy, after the First Intifada, the anniversary of the end of which falls on the same day. The uprising shook the ground beneath the occupying state and terrified it, so it panicked and rushed into a poisonous agreement with the PLO to protect itself.
The PLO agreed to recognize the Israeli state and abandon the armed struggle to liberate Palestine from the river to the sea in exchange for imaginary “authority” that provides nothing more than security coordination to support the Zionist enemy, as well as a promise to establish a state that has yet to see the light of day. Instead, there has been more theft of the land promised for the “independent” state, the looting of its resources, and the building of illegal settlements, leaving only 20 per cent of historic Palestine for the promised state.
Oslo led to more killings and arrests of the struggling Palestinian people under the pretext of security coordination with the occupation authorities. Only with the Second (Al-Aqsa) Intifada from 28 September 2000 was the spirit of resistance restored to the Palestinian people under the auspices of the late leader Yasser Arafat, who had returned from the US frustrated after the Camp David Summit with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak sponsored by US President Bill Clinton. Arafat was offended and insulted, certain that there was no point in peace agreements with Israel, as the illusionary hopes for the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and the return of Palestinian refugees to their land quickly evaporated. These hopes were nurtured by the Palestinians for seven years post-Oslo, but then they woke up to the reality that they had to return to fighting for the liberation of their land.
Arafat himself led the Second Intifada, determined to restore all of Palestine, from the river to the sea. Legitimate resistance is the only way to do this. Arafat was poisoned to death in 2004 as punishment for the Aqsa Intifada, which did not stop with the 2005 withdrawal of the Israeli troops and illegal settlers from the Gaza Strip under the weight of the Hamas Islamic Resistance Movement. The Zionist enemy had assassinated the movement’s senior leaders in March 2004: the paraplegic Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and Abdul Aziz al-Rantisi.
When Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election, Israel imposed a comprehensive blockade on the Gaza Strip; it is still in place. The occupation state has launched six major military offensives against the Palestinians in the enclave since then, but none of this has weakened the resolve of the resistance, or the strength of the Palestinian people who are willing to sacrifice everything in order to liberate their land.
We are now witnessing a return of guerrilla operations in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and Jerusalem with the emergence of a new generation of resistance fighters. They weren’t even born when Oslo was signed, but they have had to live with its dire consequences and want to liberate their homeland from the Israeli usurpers and live with dignity in freedom. The people of Jenin refugee camp have played a central role in this resistance, disturbing the enemy state and causing it to live in constant fear.
The Palestinian heart is still beating with dignity and pride. It has not aged as its leaders have aged and surrendered to the Zionist enemy as a fait accompli that must be dealt with; nor has it given in to security coordination with the enemy, as the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah has, to rein-in the resistance. This new generation will take a different direction from that of the traditional factions, such as Fatah, which betrayed its history of resistance and fighting for freedom under the pretext of the “peace process” and the lies of the Oslo Accords. It is a generation based on the honourable legacy of resistance and not the cursed legacy of Oslo.
The young people are the great-grandchildren of the Palestinians who were expelled from their land from 1948 onwards in the ongoing Nakba. They have not seen the towns and villages from which their great-grandparents were expelled, because the Israeli settlers wiped them off the map. Nevertheless, in their hearts they still live there; their land is within them as they continue the struggle for freedom. It is their homeland and they will not abandon it. “The old will die and the young will forget,” said Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. How wrong he was. Yes, the old have died, but not before handing over the keys and the memories to the young.
There is no doubt that we have hope for this great Palestinian nation, which does not die and is not defeated. How can they be? They win or are martyred. It’s a win-win situation.
On Oslo’s 30th anniversary we remember the Nakba that began in 1948 and has ongoing consequences. We remember that fateful day when the heart of the Arab nation was torn out and our land in Palestine was usurped before the eyes of the entire world, which blessed “Israel” through the UN Security Council, created specifically to achieve the goals of the major powers that were victorious in World War Two. The colonial countries were quick to recognize the Zionist entity planted in our Arab land; the first to recognize it was the Soviet Union, followed by the US, not the other way around as many people think. The East and the West worked together to stab the Arab world in the back, with the knives held first by those closest to the Palestinians. Had it not been for Arab complicity, the West would not have been able to carry out its conspiracy in Palestine.
The Zionist entity did not appear out of thin air in 1948, of course. The Zionists had worked with the racists and anti-Semites for decades before then, squeezing the infamous 1917 Balfour Declaration out of the British government, which promised support for the establishment of a “national home” for the Jewish people in Palestine. It was a promise made by those who did not own the land to those who did not deserve to own it. This promise was incorporated within the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine handed to the British almost exactly 100 years ago, on 29 September 1923. The Palestinians have suffered land theft and bloodshed ever since. Israel is protected by the international community which ignores the international laws and conventions drafted post-World War Two to prevent exactly what the Zionist state has been doing with impunity for 75 years. In this the US is no honest broker for peace. It has duped and deceived the Palestinians, aided and abetted by Arab rulers loyal to the West and its client state of Israel.
Much of this is now in the open, after years of the Arab regimes using the Palestinian issue to cement their own positions while collaborating with the occupation state behind closed doors. The so-called Abraham Accords and “normalized” relations are simply a confirmation of what has been happening for decades.
Israel has benefited from the Oslo Accords at very little cost to itself. In real terms, the Palestinians have gained nothing, and lost a great deal, especially land. The Israelis didn’t need wars for this; the so-called peace was nothing but a new war won without fighting.
In fact. it is now clear to the whole world that Israel does not want peace, which is an alien concept to the colonial entity. How can an occupation state have a peace project when it relies entirely on the subjugation of the Palestinian people?
It is painful to see that the Palestinian Authority, which was born from the illegitimate womb of the Oslo Accords, is still in place and has not stopped its security collaboration with the occupation state. It has no legitimate mandate from the people, and has sold its soul cheaply. Its current leadership, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, is happy to submit to the Zionist state, but the price is paid by Palestinians and their freedom, simply because Abbas and his cronies do not believe in resistance. They and those who support them should step down immediately; the Palestinians should disown the Oslo Accords; and legitimate resistance should come to the fore. Long live Palestine !
Amira Abo el-Fetouh is an Egyptian writer, novelist and screenwriter