By Salomon Benzimra
Twenty years ago, a Declaration of Principles (DoP) initiated the Oslo peace process. We have witnessed an unmitigated disaster ever since: terrorism; two “wars” in Gaza; incitement against Jews; indoctrination of Palestinian children; recrudescence of anti-Semitism under the guise of anti-Zionism in ?academia, the media and among NGOs, delegitimation of the State of Israel, etc.
One may wonder about the lofty Principles which triggered this mayhem. Sadly, nobody wonders. Whereas all respected professionals — engineers, architects, physicians, etc. — are accountable for their malpractice, the architects of the DoP and its ensuing Oslo Accords seem to be perpetually immune from scrutiny. The lawyers, politicians, diplomats, journalists and academics who promoted these insane policies — and continue to do so to this day — never had their day of reckoning.
Something has to change. Correcting past mistakes must start with their acknowledgement. I don’t harbour any illusion of seeing soon the full armada of “peace processors” beating their chest in a collective mea culpa. But what Israel can do, on the eve of the new rounds of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, is to formulate a new DoP. Not a lengthy document with countless clauses dealing with peripheral issues. Only a few guiding principles based on common sense.
1. Peace is a laudable objective that all parties long for.
2. For a lasting peace to be achieved, justice must first be served.
3. Justice can be served only when factual evidence is fully disclosed.
4. Diplomacy cannot be divorced from international law, which provides the historical and legal ?background of the reconstitution of the Jewish State of Israel, and the creation of its neighbouring Arab states.
5. A complex problem is best solved when split into its various components. The first issue to be ?addressed is the legal title to the land. The status of the populations living in that land will follow naturally.
It will be interesting to hear the arguments of those who oppose the above.
Salomon Benzimra, P.Eng. July 29, 2013
Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights — CILR