The Israeli daily Haaretz revealed the story behind the Israeli government's release of the following document in late October. David Bar-Illan, formerly editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post and now an adviser on communications to Benjamin Netanyahu, wanted to release a list of PLO violations of Oslo from the first day Netanyahu took office. But Netanyahu objected, arguing Arafat should be allowed time to "adjust" to the new government. After Arafat demonstrated his "adjustment" in the form of speeches calling for renewed jihad, launched a mini-war after the opening of the Hasmonean tunnel, and then refused to budge in the negotiations on Hebron, Netanyahu authorized the release of the list of PLO violations.
However, the release of this document merely underscores the gap between rhetoric and action characterizing this government thus far. Publishing the PLO violations is meaningless if those violations are treated as meaningless. Indeed publishing them merely underlines for the Arabs (and the world) that the Israeli government's declarations about reciprocity are not to be taken seriously.
What guides the policies of this government? The official line is that Oslo is a bad deal by a former government, but given that Israel is a democratic country, the successor government is nonetheless inexorably bound by its terms. In the Nov. 9 (International Edition) issue of the Jerusalem Post, legal experts Malvina Halberstam and Nathan Lewin point out that a material breach by one of the parties to an international agreement entitles the other to invoke the breach as a ground for terminating the treaty or suspending its operation in whole or in part.
In other words, any and all of the violations listed below are grounds under international law for revoking or suspending Oslo. As Halberstam and Lewin observe, the failure to change the covenant, the failure to halt terrorist attacks, the failure to hand over terrorists, and above all the turning of weapons provided by Israel against Israel by the Palestinian police are all material breaches of the Oslo accords giving Israel ample legal justification to terminate them.
Thus, the decision to go on with Oslo--in the first place, by abandoning Hebron--has nothing to do with the demands of international law. It is a political decision by those at Israel's helm who clearly fear the short-term consequences of ending Oslo (Arab violence, world reprobation, the fury of the Israeli left) even more than they fear the long-term consequence of continuing the process--the end of the state of Israel.
24 October 1996
The following list delineates 10 of the most egregious PLO violations of the Oslo Accords. The list is neither comprehensive nor exhaustive; rather, its focus is on infractions Israel deems most serious.
1. OPENING FIRE ON ISRAELI FORCES
In September 1996, Palestinian policemen opened fire on Israeli soldiers and civilians during the disturbances in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, resulting in the deaths of 15 Israelis. The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership actively instigated the rioting and took no steps to halt the armed attacks by PA police against Israeli forces. This was the most grievous violation of the Oslo accords to date by the Palestinians. As Joel Singer, legal advisor to Prime Ministers Rabin and Peres and one of the chief architects of the Oslo accords, put it, "The Palestinian policemen committed a very, very serious violation of one of the basic principles in the agreement with Israel. Nothing can justify such behavior." (Near East Report, October 21, 1996). The accords require that the Palestinian police act to prevent violence and cooperate with Israeli security forces (see, for example, Annex I, Article II). The conceptual foundation of the Oslo Accords is the rejection of violence and force as tools in the conduct of bilateral relations. By initiating violence against
Israelis, the PA has violated a cornerstone of the agreement.
2. FAILURE TO CONFISCATE ILLEGAL ARMS AND DISARM AND DISBAND MILITIAS
The PA is obligated to disarm and disband all militias operating in the autonomous areas and to confiscate all unlicensed weapons (Article XIV; and Annex I, Articles II (1) and XI). Nevertheless, five militias --Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, the DFLP and Fatah-- continue to remain armed, and the PA has refused to disarm them. The PA has failed to undertake a systematic crackdown on illegal weapons, and has confiscated just a few hundred of the tens of thousand of weapons circulating in the autonomous areas. The PA's violation of these provisions of the accord have allowed terror groups to remain active and well-armed and to carry out deadly attacks against Israelis.
3. FAILURE TO EXTRADITE SUSPECTED TERRORISTS TO ISRAEL
The PA is required to turn over for trial all suspects whose extradition is requested by Israel (Annex IV, Article II(7)), yet they have not extradited any of the 19
November 1996 - 5 - Outpost