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As for Inbar’s “failed state” in the West Bank, that’s murkier. A 2011 report by the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, an oversight body comprising Israel, the Palestinians, America, the Quartet partners and a dozen donor countries, concluded the Palestinians are quite ready for statehood. The World Bank told the committee that “Palestine” had “achieved more than many states that are full U.N. members.” Even Inbar, after saying things were a mess, went on to claim they aren’t so bad, as “[a]nyone visiting Ramallah, with its cafes and shopping centers, can see it for himself.”
The most devastating indictment of Oslo is the death toll from terrorism. It’s also where emotions and facts collide most dramatically. It’s conventional wisdom that letting Arafat’s PLO into the territories unleashed bloodshed that’s plagued Israelis ever since. The facts say otherwise.
Israeli Foreign Ministry figures show Palestinian terrorism rising and falling in waves since 1967. The first eight years of occupation saw a wave of horrific attacks. Israeli deaths averaged 47 per year. Killing slowed in 1976, the rose again to 52 per year during the First Intifada, 1989 to 1992.
Oslo incited a wave of mass murders by Hamas aimed at derailing the process. Israeli deaths rose to 65 per year. A 1998 crackdown lowered the toll to 12.
Arafat’s Second Intifada brought a five-year slaughter, 213 Israelis per year. Then came Arafat’s death, the rise of Abbas and U.S. training of Palestinian forces. Since 2009, Israeli deaths have averaged 11 per year, the lowest since the 1960s.
Did Oslo create terrorism? No, that began long before. Oslo promised a way to end it. For a while it got much worse. Then it got much better. What’s next isn’t clear.
But what of Palestinian complaints? The main one is that settlement growth is taking land where their state might be. Since 1993 settlers have tripled to 342,000, fully 13% of the total West Bank population of 2.7 million. Settlements, it’s claimed, are creating a seamless Israeli state from river to sea where Palestinians alone are non-citizens. They call it apartheid.
But apartheid means a minority ruling a majority. Israel’s population — all its citizens — now total 8.08 million. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza number just 4.43 million, according to CIA figures. Eventually they’ll have their own state. There’s time. But is there? Israelis increasingly reject the idea that they’re a “state of all its citizens.” The Knesset is considering several bills to define the country in law as the state of the Jewish people, and secondarily as a democracy of all its citizens. Israeli Jews, in Israel and the West Bank, number 6.07 million as of Rosh Hashanah 2013. Palestinian Arabs under its rule — in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel — number 6.1 million.
If the endpoint is supposed to be a democratic Jewish state, time’s up.
Contact J.J. Goldberg at email@example.com