Norman Podhoretz (left)
and Daniel Pipes

Oslo Agreements Said to Lead Inevitably to War in Middle East


HE Oslo Agreements, the basis for the current Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, is so flawed and one-sided that it will ultimately lead to war. That’s the sober assessment of Norman Podhoretz, the neo-conservative thinker who for 35 years was the distinguished editor of Commentary magazine.

“I don’t call this the Arab-Israeli conflict. I call this the Arab war against the state of Israel,” he told members of Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank, at a luncheon at the law offices of Weil Gotshal & Manges in Manhattan.

This state of war cannot be ended with the creation of a Palestinian state, he continued. “That’s because the Arabs will not accept Jewish sovereignty. It is blasphemy. The existence of a Jewish state is an abomination in Arabic belief.”

At first the Arab states surrounding Israel tried several times to defeat the Jewish state with military means. After the Six-Day War of 1967, the Arabs realized they couldn’t destroy Israel on the battlefield. They switched tactics and began to pursue their goal in stages. They adopted “salami tactics.”

“I believe the Arabs are
headed toward jihad,
holy war. That would be
the end of the Jewish
state, and the end of the
Jewish people. We won’t
have the will to go on.”

To the outside world, Arab leaders talk of co-existence. But among themselves, in their textbooks and newspapers, they cling to the idea of jihad, of driving the Jews into the sea and destroying the Jewish state. Anti-Semitic propaganda is rife. Podhoretz said that Hamas is about to issue a new edition of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and that Cairo is the center of the publication of the infamous czarist forgery, Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

“Yasir Arafat, a great negotiator who seems to be spending as much time with Bill Clinton as Hillary, has called repeatedly for a jihad against Israel,” he said.

“I believe the Arabs are headed toward war, a jihad,” Podhoretz said. “Once the Palestinian state is established, the Israeli Arabs in the Galilee will become the Sudetenland of the Middle East. It could lead to war.

“That would be the end of the Jewish state, and the end of the Jewish people. We won’t have the will to go on.”

What to do? He believes it is too late for “clever tactics.” He compared the situation to a runaway train headed down the tracks toward a wall. The train cannot be stopped or derailed.  

“There is nothing you can do but keep the Israel defense Forces strong, because war is coming.”

The Israelis are in too deep. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not try to abrogate Oslo - he slowed it down.

“I would slow down the Oslo process,” Podhoretz said, “in hopes the horse would talk or the king would die.” In other words, a miracle might happen.



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