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Oslo, 25 Years Later

Al-Sharq, Qatar, September 15

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, the momentous agreement signed between the late chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat, and then-Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Today, a quarter of a century later, it is clear beyond any doubt that the agreement only served to strengthen the Israeli occupation and weaken the Palestinians. The Israelis continue to negate Palestinian rights and confiscate their lands, while the Palestinians have repeatedly been sidelined and ignored by the international community. This was confirmed symbolically last week when the United States announced its plan to shut down the Palestinian mission in Washington, D.C.—the very same mission that was first opened as part of these Accords. This decision is part of a new American doctrine aimed at disciplining the Palestinians; first for their decision to take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and for refusing to negotiate with Israel under Trump’s watch. Although this Israeli-American behavior is unsurprising, it is very telling. First, it reveals a real Israeli fear of the ICC. Indeed, by fighting so relentlessly against the Palestinian appeal to The Hague, the Israelis are de facto admitting to having committed war crimes against the Palestinian people. Second, this behavior reveals that the unwavering Palestinian refusal to negotiate with Trump’s envoys is a real cause for concern in the White House. With no other way to get the Palestinians to comply with their demands, the Americans are now threatening the Palestinians with any possible sanctions they can think of: cutting funding for UNRWA, shutting down Palestinian hospitals in Jerusalem, and, now, the closing of the diplomatic office in Washington. All of these developments portend the end of the Oslo Accords as we’ve known them. The so-called two-state solution is effectively dead, since its most crucial components—namely, Jerusalem and the right of return—have been taken off the table by the Americans. The only alternative left for the people of Palestine is to return to the pre-Oslo days; that is, popular resistance against the Occupation. –Hussein al-Mussa

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