In 1994, Yasser Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres following the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO. The Accords named Arafat as the head of the Palestinian Authority. However, Arafat’s leadership set fire to the Middle East. As of today, we have no peace but an unstable political situation, and Arafat’s legacy of terrorism and corruption has become the legacy of almost all Palestinian leaders.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has managed to shatter the belief that Israel’s path to the Arab world passes through the establishment of a Palestinian state. When Israel signed peace agreements with the UAE and Bahrain and strengthened relations with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia – the Palestinian leadership instead “makes sure” to continue the Palestinian policy, eloquently coined by Israel’s mythical foreign minister many years ago Abba Even, “The Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
Almost three decades have passed since the Oslo Accords. In three decades, Europe has managed to mostly complete its successful rehabilitation after World War II. During this time, East Asian countries were able to turn their weak economies into successful economies. Even African countries including Rwanda have impressively managed to turn the corner. And what did the Palestinian Authority do? Continue to miss opportunities.
For example, while Israel has broken GDP records, talks with young Palestinians show that if many of them had the opportunity, they would have migrated to more promising countries. Let us not forget that since its creation, the PA has received more financial support than all European nations combined received from the United States under the Marshall Plan. However, the PA channels most of the money to personal benefits; financing terror, terrorists and their families; and inciting violence against Israel and Jews.
We will never forget that after the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, some Palestinians (not all, but many) took to the streets and handed out sweets while shouting “Allah is great.” Furthermore, government opposition is routinely persecuted by the Palestinian Authority. And if you are unfortunate enough to live under the PA and be gay, the chances of you staying alive are incredibly low.
The facts are quite clear: Arafat himself, under the Oslo Accords, gained legitimacy for Palestinian terrorist acts which killed thousands of Israelis, injured many more, and disenfranchised all hope of peace on the Israeli side. His successor Muhammad Abbas replaced the horrific violence with more “moderate” violence. He has no suicide bombings, only the “moderate and acceptable” acts of stone throwing, stabbings and ramming cars into Israelis – most of which are conveniently ignored by the international media.
In 2000, Arafat refused all of PM Ehud Barak’s generous proposals for the establishment of a Palestinian state and responded with severe violence that lasted until his death. In 2007 and 2014, Abbas refused to respond to PM Ehud Olmert and US President Barack Obama when the latter put generous proposals on the table.
Thus, when one hears the criticism of Palestinian leadership for its conduct over the past seventy years from public figures from different Arab countries, one should not be surprised. For years, Israelis have tried to say that the Palestinian leadership have not really accepted the principle of two states for two peoples. For too many years the international community has denied this fact and blatantly ignored it. For years, the Israeli Left has supported those Arabs who always reject peace. For almost a quarter of a century these two forces have lived in denial.
So it is important to put the truth on the table – when you listen to Palestinian leaders speak, you must understand that their goal is to establish one Arab state, as the violent refrain goes “from the river to the sea”, and abolish Israel. It is a pity that they have sacrificed so much human life and quality of life for this cause. It is an even greater pity that the international community legitimised it. At least, we can be encouraged by the fact that their power is weakening.