Gro Harlem Bruntland makes an ignorant and highly emotional screed against Israel, as she wails over the parched bones of the Oslo ‘peace process’.
This is the exact mindset of Norway’s ruling elite. Israel is at fault for the failure of Oslo and mostly due to the fact that they weren’t reduced in military strength and clout to that of Palestinian Arabs. It’s a total disconnect from the difference in culture and reality of the two sides. Israel has been and still is, a modern democratic state, which has exercised great restraint with its military power. The Arabs however, if the tables were turned, (let alone having anything closely resembling parity in military strength) would have tried to decimate the Jewish state, and are still working at it through demonizing propaganda within international organizations.
Therein lies the vast disconnect in the thinking of many European officials and leaders concerning the reality of the conflict, that so many Israel MFA officials have personally told me about. It’s entirely the Arabs’ conflict with Israel, guided by instinctive/reflexive Islamic supremacist thinking, and can only be ended with one side capitulating.
NOTE: Below are some of Gro Bruntland’s chief criticisms of Israel with my own observations in rebuttal.
Former Premier of Norway Reflects on Oslo Accords
Twenty years ago this week, the first Oslo Accord was signed in Washington. Shaking hands on the White House lawn before US President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), agreed to embark on a peace process to end decades of conflict. […]
— Despite there being Palestinian state-like institutions now that did not exist before, a major problem has been the overwhelming power imbalance between the Israelis and Palestinians. The Oslo process inadvertently cemented this imbalance. When one party to a conflict negotiates from a position as the occupied, and the other as the occupier, they do not have the same incentives for negotiation. They do not negotiate as equals.
TT: The Palestinians have state-like institutions, but as former JPost editor and now Wall Street Journal columnist reminds us in 2004, these institutions are like toilet fixtures without the plumbing.
Striking here is how much attention is lavished on surface, versus how little on structure. It is like a child’s idea of statehood: flags, parades, titles. But states, like buildings, are feats of architecture in which engineering comes first, aesthetics second. A well-built state, like a well-built house, depends chiefly on what is unseen. The Palestinian state has been built the opposite way, which is why, even at the height of Oslo, it seemed such a flimsy thing; and why, even now, the only things that still work are Israeli-made: the electricity grid, the telephone lines, the hospitals, the sewage system, the roads, the currency.
— When I visited Israel and the West Bank with Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson last October, the situation on the ground was worse than we had ever seen.
TT: Notice that Bruntland completely ignores the gross corruption of the political entity that’s claimed responsibility for the welfare of its people, the Palestinian Authority (P.A.). The absconding of foreign aid money is rife throughout the structural leadership, with money in foreign bank accounts of tribal / clan leaders and other assorted factions, doling out largess much like a mafia don to an area of a city under his control.
— We saw how Israeli settlements — considered illegal under international law — continue to be built and expanded in the West Bank faster than ever. These actions are making the creation of a viable Palestinian state increasingly impossible. There are now well over half a million Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In the West Bank, the number has increased by over three times since 1993.
TT: Here she employs the standard disingenuous line about the settlements being ‘considered illegal under international law’. That’s supposed to be the line to end all other defense of the Jewish state by its supporters, you mention ‘settlement illegality’, it’s like calling someone racist or bigot. It’s however but a measure solely aimed at demonizing Israeli legitimacy to any tract of land within the ancient Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria, and to stop legitimate debate.
The Jews however, under the internationally signed San Remo declaration have complete authority for close settlement of the land. The League of Nations’ Mandate for that region, like all other of its mandates formed elsewhere after the ending of WWI, was to secure the agreement of San Remo. The Jews do in fact have a great understanding on the legitimacy of their claim for Jewish involvement in Judea and Samaria, in fact, they’re becoming increasingly vocal about it, it’s only anti-Israel clowns of Gro Harlem Bruntland’s caliber, who would have you to believe that their narrative is the only one in town.
–Perhaps the one thing that Oslo taught us is that a group of courageous Israelis and Palestinians has the capacity to overcome apparently insurmountable differences. When they are serious about doing business, they can achieve results. Two decades later, it is time to summon up that same spirit of compromise, pragmatism and determination.
TT: No, what Oslo has taught us, is how to avoid in the future, the arrogant, ignoramus, self important blowhards who know next to nothing on which they pontificate about. That’s the lesson of Oslo.