Despite all the hope and hype, the Oslo Accords, signed on the White House lawn 25 years ago this week, were an unmitigated failure. A quarter of a century later, peace between Israel and the Palestinians seems even more out of reach than it was back in the dark days of the early 1990s. Both sides have been unable to learn from its harsh lessons.
The Palestinians have grown ever more violent and fragmented, with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas (currently serving in the 13th year of his four-year presidential term) a weak and ineffectual leader. On the Israeli side, the current balance of power in the Knesset is such that any prime minister who calls for the dismantling of West Bank settlements would quickly be relieved of his duties.
The Israeli and Palestinian leadership have not officially met face-to-face since 2010. However, someone, at some point, will have no choice but to heed the terms of the Oslo Accords that cost then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin his life, and realise that maps must be altered and painful compromises made if Israel is to have any possible reconciliation with the Arab world. For the sake of both sides, it can’t wait another 25 years.
A sweeter future…
The sweetness of the Jewish new year has been tinged with the bitterness of the interminable Labour antisemitism scandal. During these days of reflection, we look back on so many missed opportunities for the party’s leadership to finally show it’s prepared to grasp the initiative and decisively act.
Let’s hope next Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur sees us experience sweetness and hope rather than bitterness and insecurity.
Jewish News wishes all our loyal readers well over the fast. And may we all enjoy a happy and healthy new year.
LISTEN to this week’s episode of the Jewish Views Podcast!