OSLO - AND THE "SANCTITY OF CONTRACTS"                                                   

Elyakim Ha’etzni                                                                                                                                                                                                                            


There is neither sincerity nor truth in the maxim "Sanctity of Contracts" as far as the Oslo agreement is concerned. The only thing true about Oslo is, that its honest implementation is impossible, and any attempt at strict compliance will necessarily bring the agreement to an immediate end. Paradoxically, our Prime Minister is in the position of having to forgive any major Arab violation as the only way to save the agreement from extinction. He does not do this, of course, for the love of Oslo, but simply has no choice but to knuckle under to American pressure. Giving in under duress may be unavoidable, but still it should not be crowned with the halo of sanctity.


* Arafat promised in the Interim Agreement to "../...exercise (his) powers and responsibilitiespursuant to this agreement with due regard to internationally accepted norms and principles of human rights and the rule of law".

Had Israel made it known that it would cease to honor the agreement as long as Arafat did not abide by the Rule of Law or respect Human Rights (as regards his own people!) - this would have been the end of Oslo.

Moreover, it is Israel that would be blamed, and by whom if not by the Israeli stalwarts of Human Rights?

* In the agreement, the Palestinian Authority pledged to - "abstain from incitement, including hostile propaganda../... and../... take legal measures to prevent such incitement by any organization, groups or individuals../..." and to "ensure that their../... educational systems contribute to peace../... and refrain from the introduction of any motifs that could adversely affect the process of reconciliation."

In fact, the Palestinian Authority makes use of the frequencies and stations which Israel gave to them, as well as the schools built by us - in the same manner as it uses the rifles and machine-guns we gave them - to fire venom, incitement and hatred, to indoctrinate the coming generation to "liberate" all the country from us. This pernicious use of their media was made public only apropos the violent attacks by the Palestinian "police", but this is an ongoing phenomenon, hidden persistently from the public by Israel's own hostile media.

Should Netanyahu try to make them abide by these commitments, the Oslo agreement would surely explode. Again, all the world would condemn not the Arab violations, but Israel's insistence on compliance.


Palestinians who have maintained contact with the Israeli authorities will not be subjected to acts of harassment, violence, retribution or persecution. Appropriate ongoing measures will be taken, in coordination with Israel, in order to ensure their protection."

Anyone who knows anything about the killings of so- called "collaborators" by the "Preventive Security" forces of Arafat, the torture, the persecutions - some of them even committed inside Israel, can only smile at reading this paragraph. Close surveillance to ensure the fulfillment of this stipulation would also cause the immediate end of Oslo because it is simply impossible to demand from a tiger to behave like a cat. Thus, the very nature of the PLO is one of the deep, fundamental, reasons that makes the Oslo agreement impossible to implement../..


There is nothing like Oslo-Hebron to illustrate the self-destructive potential of this agreement, activated whenever an attempt is made to impose the "Sanctity of Contracts" principle on the Palestinian side.

The fulfillment by Israel of its commitment to introduce the Palestinian "police" into Hebron automatically triggers the following breaches:

An army, not the agreed upon police force, enters the town: Commando units, "Navy", "Force 17" - in any case: Infantry. Israel never dared to demand the dismantling of the military structure of this "police". Any Israeli insistence would have buried the agreement.

The names of the "policemen" entering the town were not submitted beforehand to Israel, which has a contractual right to disqualify certain elements. Actually, wanted persons, among them murderers, will come in, some of them as officers.

There is no confiscation of the large amount of weapons held by citizens, exactly as in Gaza or in Nablus, this too in violation of the agreement. An implementation of this paragraph, too, would be the end of Oslo.

There will be no extradition to Israel of "policemen" or civilians who would kill or maim Jews. On the contrary, Hebron will immediately become a city of refuge for thieves and murderers. 

This "police" will not even resemble the force circumscribed in the Interim Agreement: 

../... a total of up to 400 policemen, equipped with 20 vehicles and armed with 200 pistols and 100 rifles for the protection of (the) stations".

Relying on experience from police stations established in Area B, the number of personnel, weapons and vehicles will largely exceed the stipulated numbers. The vehicles will be stolen from Israel. Israeli inspections of those police-stations to confiscate surplus arms and retrieve the stolen cars would be potentially more explosive for Oslo than ten tunnels in Jerusalem.

Only thanks to the license Israel has given to Arafat to break the Oslo agreement's most fundamental commitments is this agreement still alive, albeit a life "nasty, brutish" and most probably also "short". Any conceivable additional security measures in Hebron- from Separation Zones to mixed patrols to limiting the use of rifles - will quickly evaporate. Israel will do nothing, for fear of being accused of scuttling the agreement. There is only one stipulation of any value: Freedom of operation for the IDF in all parts of the town.


According to the Interim Agreement, the rifles in the police-stations of area B are designated only "for the purpose of guarding the police-station". Only in special cases may the rifles be taken outside the stations, but even this only after prior notification given to the District Coordination Office. It goes without saying that Arafat flouts all these restrictions. Israeli insistence on enforcing them would kill the agreement.

And there is still the unamended Palestinian Charter, the illegitimate drilling of wells, the infiltration of at least 100,000 persons into the area in breach of the agreement. Imagine an Israeli Prime Minister sending forces into the villages to remove all of those who entered the country as visitors or students for a few weeks or months. Such a measure would not only sabotage Oslo - a war would break out ! Enough for Netanyahu to discontinue the fulfillment of the agreement on our part until Arafat himself deports the illegal infiltrators - to create a complete stalemate, with Israel being accused of bad faith. To sum up in the spirit of George Orwell in his unforgettable book "1984": Oslo - its keeping (by the Jews) is in its violation (by the Arabs).


More proof that "Sanctity of Contracts", coming from the Prime Minister, is indeed a hollow mantra can be adduced by studying his settlement policy.

The Prime Minister does not tire to stress - rightly so - that there is not one word in the Oslo agreements which prohibits or restricts Jewish settlement. But if this is so, why did he freeze this settlement? Why did he promise not to erect new settlements and why was the Defense Minister authorized to supervise restrictively even the development of existing settlements, at five different, bureaucratic stages to implement the Rabin-Peres doctrine of allowing only "natural growth"?

Because massive settlement, as promised by Candidate Netanyahu to his voters, would cause the Arabs to abrogate the Oslo agreement forthwith. No matter, that such abrogation would be in violation of the Oslo agreement, which does not interdict settlement. Here again, Netanyahu perseveres in keeping the "Sanctity of Violation" on the part of the Palestinians. One is reminded of the old anecdote about a man with a huge hat who stubbornly refused to take it off "out of principle". But the "principle" was no more than his bald head. It is not the worn out Latin sentence, brought into circulation by Menahem Begin and recycled by Netanyahu - "Pacta sunt servanda" ("Agreements must be kept") that motivates him, but the American whip.

Let He Who Kept International Commitments Come and Throw the First Stone

There is another principle in international law, that international obligations are made "Subject to the Prevailing Circumstances" ("Rebus Sic Stantibus" ). Serious changes in circumstances sometimes entail changes in treaties, even their suspension. For illustrations, let us first look at our dear neighbors.

The cease-fire agreements signed in Rhodes in the wake of our War of Liberation (1949) were all broken by the Arabs. One instance: Jordan did not grant Jews free passage to the Wailing Wall, notwithstanding her solemn undertaking. Finally, in 1967 - she opened war against Israel.

Syria signed (under American auspices) the Taif agreement, committing herself to evacuate Lebanon. Not only does she not dream of doing so, nobody even expects this from her today.

After the Sinai campaign (1956) Egypt pledged - again under American auspices - to allow Israel free passage in the Suez Canal, also never to close the Straits of Tiran. Both pledges were broken, the breach of the latter becoming one of the causes of the 1967 war.

Egypt again: The "War of Attrition" on the canal ended - again under American auspices - with another Egyptian promise, this time not to move her anti-aircraft missiles near the Canal. This promise, too, was immediately violated, the US claiming "We did not observe". The rest is written with our blood in the annals of the Yom Kippur war.

Actually, not one Arab undertaking was faithfully kept. Inter-Arab pledges met the same fate. Between Egypt and Lybia, Egypt and the Sudan, between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, North and South Yemen, between Iraq and Iran , Iraq and Kuwait, and so on ad nausea. The assumption, that of all undertakings the particular one made vis a vis the "Zionist Enemy" will be the exception is suicidal.

The United States, which preaches to us from above like an impatient teacher to a retarded child, is hardly in the position to lecture us on the sanctity of its own obligations. Consider the following:

Secretary of State Kissinger promised on behalf of the US not to recognize the PLO, then sent Ambassador Pelletreau to Arafat's court in Tunis, all of this a long time before Oslo.

President Ford pledged to support Israel's position, not to descend from the Golan and yet, in contradiction of the false mantra that "Democratic governments honor commitments of former governments", President Bush promised the Syrians to get us down from the Golan, and to-day President Clinton pursues the same policy.

Shortly before the Six Days War Abba Eban was sent to President Johnson to demand the fulfillment his President Eisenhower's undertaking (given in exchange for our retreat from Sinai) to open the Tiran straits - if necessary by naval force. Sadly , the American State Department "failed to find the document". The naivete of Abba Eban, a man brilliant in a dozen languages, was summed up by our Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol, in three Yiddishe words : "Mein kluger Narr", meaning My wise fool!../...

The dubious distinction to have committed the "Mother-of-all-Violations" goes to Great Britain, to which the Land of Israel was entrusted in the form of a Mandate, literally, a Power of attorney, actually - in trust. By the terms of this trust, England was obligated to the League of Nations to establish in Palestine "a Jewish National Home", also to make use of state land to facilitate dense Jewish settlement. Ultimately, the state lands

Britain gave to the Arabs and in the White Paper of 1939 it stopped almost completely Jewish immigration and settlement, preparing the ground for a Palestinian state. The English could have claimed in defense that conditions had changed since 1920. Facing the impending WW2 England needed the Arab world. Nevertheless, this was a base, cynical violation, closing the gates of a "National Home" while this home's nation was being slaughtered before their eyes, five full years. England should be the last to preach to the remnants of this exterminated nation anything about the "Sanctity of Contracts".

France guaranteed the territorial integrity of Czechoslovakia in a solemn treaty (Locarno 1925). This treaty was made for the express purpose of protecting little Czechoslovakia against the German giant. And yet, in 1938, under Hitler's threats, France imposed on Czechoslovakia the surrender to the German demands at Munich. This violation was so outstandingly ugly and cowardly, that is disqualifies France to judge others in matters of fidelity to international obligations.

Italy, by treaty, was an ally of Germany and Austria in World War 1 and yet, in the middle of the war, she changed sides. In World War 2 Italy was again an ally of (Hitler's) Germany, but later on in the war it joined the allies. Today , Italy, too, sits in judgment of Israel as to the "Sanctity of Contracts".

In the treaty that ended the Viet Nam war, North Viet Nam promised not to invade the South after the pullout of the US forces. A short time later the North swallowed the South, without as much as a stir in the "international community".

Many treaties in history were side-stepped, one time or another, most often not by express repudiation, but by tacit non-compliance. When it comes to vital national interests, to questions of life and death, nations generally do not treat treaties rigidly, ritually, or dogmatically. Therefore, the almost ritual conjuration of the "sanctity" of the evil that is Oslo, is not only a mixture of self-delusion and self-destruction, it is also a mockery. One day it will be said of the Jews, mistaken in the past as clever and

intelligent, that they proved themselves to be the suckers of the world.


And then there are the dubious circumstances under which those agreements came into being. This is, maybe , the first time in history that a state signs an international instrument with a terrorist group, so designated by its statutes. It is also unheard of that an international treaty is made and signed when the mere contact with the other party constitutes an offense against the law. Indeed, talks or meetings with the PLO were strictly forbidden by the "Order for Prevention of Terrorism" at the very moment in which the "Declaration of Principles" (Oslo A) was signed. In other words, the begetting of this agreement was tainted , its birth - illegitimate.

Furthermore, the world never saw a state making an alliance with a party, whose constitution calls for its destruction. Isn't the "liberation" of all Palestine from the Jews the very heart of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) Charter? Didn't Arafat, only a day or two before the September 1996 riots, make clear again his intention "to kill and get killed" for all Palestine? How can you ally yourself to a body whose life depends on your death? Doesn't the life of the cancer mean the person's death and vice versa ? This was the reason why the rescission of the Charter, which defines the PLO as exterminator of the Jewish State was made a fundamental condition to the validity of the Oslo agreement. But the Charter was not changed .


If, in spite of all the foregoing, Netanyahu did not make the annulment of the Charter a condition precedent to further "honoring" the agreement on his part, first and foremost by evacuating Hebron - how does he dare to invoke the "Sanctity" of keeping contracts? On the contrary, it is he, Netanyahu, who presides over the nonfulfillment of Oslo by his new "partners", the terrorist authorities, who does not keep the promise he made to his nation, to insist on "reciprocity".

We have had more than enough of his tragicomic posing, having "lost confidence" in Arafat, but being ready to accept one more solemn promise in consideration for Hebron, for further stages of "re-deployment" - ending in 1997 by giving up all of Judea-Samaria, etc! As if Netanyahu ever believed Arafat , as if he believes now that this time his signature on a new check, drawn on an account known to be non-existent,

has any chance of being honored.

Netanyahu's demonstration of loyalty to Oslo sounds hollow and lacks credibility for yet another reason, which is that the Oslo agreement itself constitutes a breach of promise by the Labour party to its voters and to the people - not to negotiate with the PLO and not to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state, which was knowingly made inevitable by the negotiators of Oslo.

Another shadow is cast on Oslo by its ratification in the Knesseth by a majority, of which the Arab delegates were the decisive component, it being well known that their loyalty lies with Arafat and their national interest collides with the Jewish national interest.

On this background Netanyahu committed himself to his voters to accept only the static, established facts created by Oslo, excluding further, dynamic, steps to execute the Interim Agreement to its end. After all , if Netanyahu, like Peres, is committed to the full execution of Oslo , why vote for him in the first place ?

In the final analysis, Netanyahu himself, by further carrying on the Oslo agreement, violates the "Sanctity" of his pledge made to his voters and to the nation.

The punishment for such a breach of truth will be sure to come. Never will Netanyahu win the support of the Left. On the contrary, they will heap scorn on him - and rightly so - for having gone their way. On the other hand, his own voters and admirers, those who had hoped to find in him a leader and a statesman, will surely abandon him, their hopes smashed.

All is not lost, yet . There is still some time left to take a firm and courageous stand, to brave the all out onslaught , from without as well as from within, to behave like any normal nation in the world.


Elyakim Ha'etzni

Kiryat Arba 90100

Ramat Mamre P.O.Box 2066

Tel.Fax. 02-9961878/3001

<<< Back To Index