The Oslo Delusion
Since the onset of the Oslo peace process between Israel and the Palestinians (1993), an entire structure has been erected which has no foundation; an entire set of axioms has been woven which assumed that once they were addressed, negotiated and agreed upon, the fundamental problems pitting the parties against each other would become soluble. For example, it was, for a time, assumed that Israelis and Arabs depended on outside mediation to negotiate, and the various Camp David conferences were cited as 'proof'; while in effect the Sadat Peace Initiative (1977), and the Oslo Accords (1993) were the result of secret and direct bilateral negotiations between these parties. Another assumption that was repeated ad nauseam in all international forums posited that the Israeli settlements were an obstacle to peace, while they proved not to be so in the Israel-Egypt Peace Accords (1979), and even in the ongoing Israel-Palestinian negotiations. In any case, when the discussions faced crisis or were aborted, it was due to other issues dividing the parties, such as Jerusalem and the right of return of the Palestinians, not specifically the settlements. If anything, the case can be made for the argument that without the settlements, which lend urgency to the issue of territory, maybe it would have been that much more difficult to coax the Palestinians to go to the negotiating table in the first place.