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Israel Should Annul the Oslo Accords

Danny Danon / The New York Times - September 20, 2013

THIS month marks 20 years since the signing of the first of the Oslo Accords between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Two decades after Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat stood on the White House lawn with President Bill Clinton, Israelis and Palestinians are again in the midst of the umpteenth round of negotiations.

Despite these efforts, true peace seems as distant as it did before the secret talks in Oslo were revealed to the world. The government of Israel must admit that we made a mistake and declare that the Oslo process has failed.

Only by officially annulling the Oslo Accords will we have the opportunity to rethink the existing paradigm and hopefully lay the foundations for a more realistic modus vivendi between the Jews and Arabs of this region.

Despite attempts to rewrite recent history by fringe elements, the failure of the Oslo framework cannot be attributed to a lack of will and persistence by Israel. What didn't we try? We attempted direct negotiations, third-party mediators, public conferences and back-channel talks. We staged withdrawals and unilateral disengagements, established joint Israeli-Palestinian military patrols in Gaza and deployed American-trained security forces in the West Bank. None of this worked.

The P.L.O., and later the Palestinian Authority, never truly accepted that Israel, as the national state and homeland of the Jewish people, was here to stay. No amount of impressive ceremonies, cosmetic changes to the P.L.O. charter and Palestinian doublespeak to Western media outlets about their commitment to peace was able to change this grim fact.

To understand the mind-boggling scope of Oslo's failure, it is best to look at the statistics. According to the organization B'Tselem, during the first Palestinian intifada in 1987, six years before Mr. Rabin's attempt to recast the archterrorist Yasir Arafat as a peacemaker, 160 Israelis were murdered in Palestinian terror attacks. In the mid- to late-1990s, as successive Israeli governments negotiated with the Palestinians, and Mr. Arafat and his cronies repeatedly swore they were doing their utmost to end terrorism, 240 Israelis were brutally killed as suicide bombs and other heinous terrorist acts targeting unarmed civilians were unleashed in every corner of our nation.

Things did not get better after Prime Minister Ehud Barak made the Palestinians an offer in 2000 that, judging by his landslide defeat in the election a few months later, was way beyond what most Israelis supported. Between then and September 2010, 1,083 Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terrorists.

The Oslo process did not bring peace; it brought increased bloodshed. We must end this farce by announcing the immediate suspension of the accords.

Little impact would be felt by average Israelis and Palestinians. Those who would suffer most would be full-time negotiators like Martin S. Indyk and Saeb Erekat, who would find themselves out of a job after 20 years of gainful employment in the peace process industry.

What should replace Oslo's false promise? We should implement what I have called a "three-state solution." In the future, the final status of the Palestinians will be determined in a regional agreement involving Jordan and Egypt, when the latter has been restabilized. All the region's states must participate in the process of creating a long-term solution for the Palestinian problem.

In the short term, the Palestinians will continue to have autonomy over their civilian lives while Israel remains in charge of security throughout Judea and Samaria, commonly referred to as the West Bank. Following an initial period, the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria could continue to develop their society as part of an agreement involving Israel and Jordan. Similarly, Gaza residents could work with Israel and Egypt to create a society that granted them full civil authority over their lives in a manner that was acceptable to all sides.

Most veterans of the peace process will mock this proposal, protesting that there is no way it would be accepted by the Palestinians. Their argument may seem convincing today, but as I often remind my critics, our region is unpredictable. Had you told any Middle East expert five years ago that two successive Egyptian presidents would be deposed and Bashar al-Assad's regime would be in the midst of a bloody civil war, you, too, would have been mocked. Things change. We can make them change.

I am aware that even if the Palestinians accepted this plan, we would still have to deal with a fundamentalist Hamas regime in Gaza and continuing instability in Egypt. No plan for Israeli-Arab peace can be fully implemented until these issues are resolved.

In the short term, Israel's only option is to manage this conflict by refusing to compromise when it comes to the security of Israeli citizens. At the same time, our government should take all steps possible to improve the economic well-being of the Palestinians.

The dissolution of the Oslo Accords would serve as the official act validating what we already know — that this failed framework is totally irrelevant in 2013. Once the Palestinians were ready to sit down and seriously discuss how our two peoples, through this new paradigm, could live side by side in peace and prosperity, they would find willing partners across the political spectrum in Israel.

It may not be the utopian peace promised to all of us on that sunny day in September 1993, but in the harsh realities of the Middle East, this may be the best we can hope for and the sole realistic chance for our children to grow up in a world less violent than previous generations have had to endure.

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Danny Danon in Fox News

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Deputy defense minister: This government will block any two-state deal

Israel's ruling party and the governing coalition are staunchly opposed to a two-state solution and would block the creation of a Palestinian state if such a proposal ever came to a vote, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said, contradicting statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior cabinet members who say Jerusalem is committed to the principle of two states for two peoples.

Danon's statements, made Wednesday to The Times of Israel in his first major interview with an Israeli news outlet since he became deputy minister, underline the low likelihood of the current government being able to sign a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

"Look at the government: there was never a government discussion, resolution or vote about the two-state solution," Danon said. "If you will bring it to a vote in the government — nobody will bring it to a vote, it's not smart to do it — but if you bring it to a vote, you will see the majority of Likud ministers, along with the Jewish Home [party], will be against it."

The Times of Israel, 6.6.2013

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Free Jonathan Pollard / USA TODAY

By Danny Danon | USAToday.com | February 26, 2013

All of us here in Israel welcomed wholeheartedly the announcement by the White House that President Obama will visit Israel next month. Over the past two years, the president has made critical policy decisions that have enhanced Israel's security. Now, it is my hope that the president will use his upcoming trip not only to meet our political leaders, but to forge a bond with the people of Israel. The best way to do this is to finally pardon Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. citizen convicted of spying for Israel, and allow him to come home to Israel ahead of the presidential visit in March. This would not only right an historic wrong, but will also serve to remove an unfortunate stain from an otherwise close American-Israeli relationship.

Earlier in his presidency, Obama made a number of decisions that some of us felt were not helpful in terms of our geopolitical standing and strengthening our negotiating position with our neighbors. Thankfully, during the second half of his first term it seems that he began to chart a new course. The Obama administration stood resolutely by Israel's side at the United Nations as the Palestinians attempted to nullify our signed agreements by forcing a vote on unilateral statehood. Similarly he has joined the US congress in placing – and enforcing – biting sanctions that are aimed at curtailing the Iranian nuclear program.

Nevertheless, the feeling persisted here that President Obama has not connected with Israelis on a visceral and emotional level. While the steps the president has taken over the past two years have helped reassure leaders in Israel about the president's intentions, a pardon for Jonathan Pollard would go a long way in showing the Israeli people where his heart lays.

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"The new face of Likud"

By MATTI FRIEDMAN - TimesOfIsrael.com

One of the most important events in Danny Danon's life happened in 1969, two years before he was born.

That was the year Joseph Danon, a 29-year-old army reservist, was pursuing a Palestinian guerrilla cell in the Jordan Valley. When battle was joined, one of the Palestinians threw a grenade and Danon was hit by shrapnel. He emerged from a coma after several months, having suffered a serious head wound. He was rendered permanently deaf.

Many of Danny Danon's childhood memories are of serving as his father's interpreter at banks and government offices and of going on hikes across the country and then reporting back to their home in Ramat Gan, describing the routes and the landscapes to his father, once an avid hiker himself but now too infirm to come along.

"We would re-enact the hike at home," Danon said in a recent interview. "Despite his injury, he managed to get across the message of knowing the country and loving the country."

Danon began reading books about the underground groups that fought the British in pre-state Palestine, and learned the sites of battles from David and Goliath to the Yom Kippur War. That, he says, gave him a strong connection to the geography of Israel. Interpreting for his father, he said, "gave me the confidence to speak and argue and say what I think."

For the full article please click here


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