Opinion: As we mark 28 years since initiation of agreements between Israel and PLO, it’s easy to see that anytime Israel makes territorial concessions, it pays for it in blood of its citizens
Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat during signing of the Oslo Accords
(Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO )
On October 9, 1994, IDF soldier Nachshon Mordechai Wachsman was abducted and killed by Hamas. On October 12, 2000, the horrifying lynching occurred in Ramallah, in which a Palestinian crowd broke into a police station at el-Bireh, killed two IDF reservists who got lost and mutilated their bodies.
An in-depth look at these two events shows us the extent of the disaster that were the Oslo Accords, the first phase of which was signed in October of 1993, some 28 years ago.
As we can see, the month of October is marked by a lot of terrible events for the State of Israel.
Golani Sergeant Wachsman was kidnapped after he got into a carpool with a stranger. After six nerve-wracking days, the military’s operation to rescue him failed, and Wachsman along with another soldier Nir Poraz, were killed.
A year earlier, a celebration was held on the White House lawn. Former prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres signed the Oslo Accords with stars in their eyes.
During the time of the abduction, however, the agreement was still in the early stages of implementation. So, the IDF at the time could easily access the area where the soldier was being held, gather intelligence about Wachsman’s whereabouts, and plan a rescue operation, involving the Israeli prime special forces unit – Sayeret Matkal.
Rabin may have been badly wrong on Oslo, but in the case of Wachsman he showed exemplary leadership. There was not a single moment in which he thought about giving in to the kidnappers’ demands. He also had the integrity to take the blame after the rescue operation failed and say to the cameras, “I’m responsible.”
Unfortunately, Rabin didn’t stop Oslo from coming to fruition, and the infamous phrase “victims of peace” was born around the time of the abduction.
During that same October of 1994, some 22 civilians were murdered in a Hamas suicide bombing attack on a passenger bus in Tel Aviv. During that time, Israeli politicians understood that on the one hand they can sing Kumbaya with the Arabs, and on the other, ignore hate speeches by then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat and his covert approval of terror attacks on Israeli civilians.
That idea was adopted by Rabin and Shimon Peres – a man of many talents but hopelessly naive – and later by prime ministers Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu. It’s possible that had Rabin not been horribly murdered by a fellow Jew, he might have sobered up eventually.
Then came the lynching in Ramallah, which really showed us how heavy was the price we paid for agreeing to the Oslo Accords. A crowd of Palestinians with their bare hands murdered two IDF reservists – Chief Sergeant Yossi Avrahami and Corporal Vadim Nurzhitz.
The two accidentally entered the Palestinian Authority–controlled Ramallah in the West Bank and were taken into custody by Palestinian policemen. An angry crowd of more than 1,000 Palestinians then stormed the station, brutally murdering the soldiers and mutilating their bodies.
At the beginning of the incident the Israelis tried to rely on PA’s security forces to get the soldiers out, which is ridiculous to even think about. But more worrying, the IDF decided against a rescue operation.
From these two incidents we can see how easily things can escalate if the government turns a blind eye to violence. We also witnessed how cruel some Palestinians can be, and that is also something we must not forget.
Operation Defensive Shield was a large-scale IDF operation in the West Bank in the midst of the Second Intifada, in which the stated goal was to stop terrorist attacks and clean out all terror infrastructure in the area. It was followed by regular “maintenance” of the area by the IDF in order to keep things under control. It taught us that, unfortunately, there is no other way.
No one else is going to do the job for us, as we see in Gaza, when there is no Israeli presence, there is no security hold. As Joseph Trumpeldor said, “Wherever the Jewish plow plows its last furrow, that is where the border will run.”