Palestine mulls annulment of Oslo Accords
Sevil Erkuş – RAMALLAH
The Palestinian leadership is considering the annulment of the Oslo Accords following U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital, said Mustafa Barghouti, a member of both the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council.
“We reached an impasse in the so-called peace process a long time ago. But maybe Mr. Trump’s statement has made people wake up to the fact that Israel has basically killed the Oslo agreement completely,” Barghouti, who is also serving as General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI), told the Hürriyet Daily News on Dec. 16
He said an important Central Council meeting had been called and referred to a tendency in favor of canceling the Oslo Accords within the council.
“It was the Central Council that approved the Oslo Accords at the time. The same council could also declare the cancellation of the Oslo Accords. We are hoping that Hamas and Islamic Jihad will also join the meeting. The meeting should take place in about a month if other factions approve,” the Palestinian politician said.
Barghouti himself supports cancelling the Oslo Accords, because they “impose restrictions on the Palestinian side, but not the Israeli side, which has already violated all aspects of the agreement.”
Abolishing the agreement would mean canceling security coordination between Palestine and Israel, which is a crucial part of the Oslo Accords, he said, while adding that “some Palestinian politicians and ministers would lose their privileged VIP status that enables them to cross checkpoints with comparative ease if the annulment happens.”
Barghouti said Israeli security forces had already violated the terms of the Oslo Accords by entering areas forbidden to them. The deal stated that only Palestinians could control those areas.
“The provisions of the Oslo Accords were never completely enacted because [Benjamin] Netanyahu entered office and obstructed talks. Since his rise to prominence in Israeli politics, Israel has not only failed to implement the agreement, but also invaded the West Bank in 2002, and continued to build settlements,” he added.
‘Palestinians will seek membership of UN agencies’
By abolishing the Oslo Accords, Palestinians will not lose anything except “their chains,” Barghouti said.
There will be a meeting between the Palestinian leadership, the executive committee of the PLO and other leaders of different parties on Dec. 18. The meeting is likely to refute the U.S.’s role as a mediator with Palestinians, he said.
“The U.S. did not want us to join U.N. bodies such as the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, Organization of Intellectual Property and so on. We are going to propose referring Israel to the International Criminal Court for committing the crime of settlements. The ICC has already recognized the settlements as a grave violation of international law and as a war crime,” he said.
Barghouti stressed that they have been making calls to “change strategy” for more than 15 years.
“Our current strategy is mainly based on holding talks. But Israel uses negotiations to cover up their actions on the ground, including settlement extensions, which undermine the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state. In my opinion, we need a new strategy that focuses on shifting the balance of power between ourselves and Israel through five pillars of struggle,” he said.
His “five-pillared struggle” consists of popular, non-violent resistance, imposing sanctions on Israel, restoring Palestinian unity under the leadership of the PLO, helping Palestinians remain on their land and reconfiguring relations between the various factions of Palestinian people, whether they live abroad, within Israel or the occupied territories.
‘Turkey should declare embassy in Jerusalem’
Barghouti said the Palestinians needed to recreate the environment of the first intifada, “when it became very costly for Israel to occupy [Palestinian lands].”
“At the moment, there is no cost. They are even making a profit from exploiting our land, workers and water. They take 86 percent of our water resources,” he added.
Palestinian officials have called on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to fulfill his promise to cut ties with Israel. “Then he will set a good example to other countries,” he noted, adding that OIC members should try to open embassies in Jerusalem.
“Turkey already has a consulate in Jerusalem. It should declare this consulate an embassy in East Jerusalem. You cannot change anything with Israelis unless you change the situation on the ground.”
In 1991 Barghouti was a delegate to the Madrid Conference. In the 2005 elections to determine the successor of Yasser Arafat, he was Mahmoud Abbas’s main challenger, after his cousin Marwan Barghouti, then jailed for leading an uprising, withdrew from the race. He was Minister of Information in the Palestinian Unity government of 2007.
The outcome of secret meetings held between 1992 and 1993, the Oslo Accrods established a timetable for the Middle East peace process. It called for an interim Palestinian government in Gaza and Jericho in the West Bank. It also included provisions for the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from six West Bank cities and about 450 towns and called for limited Palestinian autonomy within those areas.
Current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has opposed the Oslo Accords since their inception.