Legal Expert: Unilateral Palestinian Actions Violate the Oslo Accords

Palestinian efforts to impose a final peace agreement upon Israel by appealing to international bodies constitutes a “fundamental breach” of the Oslo Accords, former Ambassador Alan Baker wrote in a ten-point analysis for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) on Monday. Baker formerly served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Israel’s ambassador to Canada.

Baker began his analysis by noting that the purpose of the Oslo Accords was to “to lead to peace between Israel and the Palestinian People and mutual recognition of each other’s ‘mutual legitimate and political rights,’” and that both parties agreed not “to initiate or take any steps that will change the status of the territories pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.” The commitment to negotiations was also made by Yasser Arafat in an exchange of letters with late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.

The agreements were guaranteed “by the King of Jordan, the Presidents of the U.S. and Egypt, the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation and Norway, the EU and endorsed by the UN.”

Yet, Baker writes, by pursuing unilateral actions and agreeing to a joint government with Hamas, the Palestinian Authority “ha[s] knowingly and deliberately bypassed [its] contractual obligations pursuant to the Oslo Accords in an attempt to prejudge the main negotiating issues outside the negotiation.”

In a complementary analysis, former Israeli Ambassador Dore Gold wrote that all Arab-Israeli peace negotiations are based on Security Council Resolution 242, which is being shredded by Palestinian unilateral actions:

In substance, the draft resolution also sought to prejudge the outcome of any future negotiations. How can you have a Security Council resolution that decides Israel’s future borders on the basis of the 1967 lines and in the same breath assert that you are going to have a negotiation over borders? What is there left to negotiate? UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, did not require Israel to fully withdraw from the territories it captured in a war of self-defense.

It is often forgotten that Resolution 242 was the basis of all Arab-Israeli agreements from the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace to the 1993 Oslo Declaration of Principles to the 1994 Jordanian-Israeli Treaty of Peace. It was also the basis of the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference that launched the peace process. True, the latest draft resolution mentions Resolution 242 in its preamble. But, by demanding a nearly full withdrawal by Israel in its operative section, the draft resolution essentially contradicts 242 in substance.

The Palestinian effort to bypass negotiations, Gold argues, “exposes the strategy adopted by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president,” who “seeks to use international institutions in order to impose a solution on Israel.” Abbas’ strategy is unacceptable to Israel, and the international community, which guaranteed the Oslo Accords, “should not give it any support if it wants to see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolved.”

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