A former Speaker of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, has declared that the 1993 Oslo Accords “are dead”. Avraham Burg added that finding a solution to the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis is not possible without formal recognition of the pain of the past; he called for Israel to respect the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
Writing in Haaretz newspaper, he asked, “Oslo is dead, what next?” According to Burg, both Palestinians and Israelis are responsible for the death of the Oslo Accords as they did not do enough “to rein-in the peace-destroying mechanisms”.
“The Israelis signed a peace accord and didn’t stop the occupation enterprise via the settlements for one moment,” wrote the ex-Speaker. “Israel never understood Palestinian sensitivities to the Zionist movement’s greatest colonial undertaking… The Palestinians didn’t understand Israeli sensitivities to the continued culture of incitement and violence that emanated from the mosques and was expressed horrifically in terror attacks.”
Concluding that the “clash between the settlements and the incitement was unavoidable”, Burg said that when it happened, the result was the death of Oslo. “Oslo has been dead for years; they just forgot to inform the nations and their leaders.”
He added that a bloody conflict that has lasted for over a hundred years cannot come to an end without recognising the suffering of the past. In a statement unprecedented for someone of his status, Burg stressed that the recognition of the right of return for the Palestinians is embodied in UN General Assembly Resolution 194, but that the implementation of the resolution should take into consideration the current reality.