The month of September plays a central role in the Hebrew calendar, roughly correspondending with the holiday month of Tishrei. It also occupies a central place in Israel's collective political experience: On Sept. 13, 1993, the Oslo Accords were signed.
Recently, we learned that chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that "the Palestinian leadership is considering abrogating the Oslo Accords because Israel has sabotaged all peace efforts." The main reason, according to Palestinian Authority leaders, is economic — the financial document signed during those days in Paris that hinged the Palestinian economy to the Israeli economy in certain areas is the root of all the difficulties, and should therefore be nullified.
Why is there a need to abolish the entire agreement over this? Have these accords not already been annulled a number of times in the past? Did the Palestinians ever intend to honor them? After all, did the Oslo Accords alter our lives in the region in any decisive manner? They stipulated that Israel and the PLO mutually recognize each other and prescribed a series of steps to be taken by both sides; essentially they "promised" a new future for both peoples, who live in the same territory, because the PLO under Yasser Arafat's leadership promised to renounce violence. Really?
Ten days after the accords were signed on the White House lawn, under the auspices of then-President Bill Clinton, the terrorist attacks began. The first man killed was Yigal Vaaknin. Two weeks later, Eran Bahar and Dror Porer were murdered. The attacks continued, with more and more people murdered every few days. By the end of 1993, 15 deadly terror attacks had been recorded.
And if the Israeli leadership thought that the following year would be a fresh start, it was quickly proven wrong: The terror attacks only became more sophisticated while terrorists carried out their first suicide attack in Afula on April 6, killing eight, closely followed by a second suicide attack a week later, in which three were killed.
If initial claims said that these attacks were carried out only by the rejectionist anti-PLO organizations, such as Hamas, the PFLP, Islamic Jihad and others, we very quickly realized that the PLO also played a critical role. What about Arafat's speech at the mosque in South Africa? In broken English, he told his audience that the Oslo Accords were merely a tactical ploy meant to destroy the Jewish state. The highlight was, of course, the planned Al-Aqsa Intifada. To sum up: The Oslo Accords and their aftermath claimed the lives of thousands, on both sides.
When one reads the PLO's "phased plan" from 1974, when it decided to eliminate Israel step by step, one understands that if anyone violated the accords it was the PLO, and these violations were clearly premeditated. Palestinians do not need to annul the agreement because they never really meant to uphold it in the first place.