GAZA CITY: Palestinian opinion split in 1993 with the signing of the Oslo Accords, which aimed to end the conflict with Israel.
It was signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel, under US auspices, on September 13th. Supporters of the agreement saw it as a gateway to establishing Palestinian statehood and ending the occupation, while those who opposed it saw it as a free concession.
This division remains almost three decades after the historic moment, but is more intense than ever as the Palestinians have not yet achieved their dream of an independent state and the occupation is intact.
Supporters of the agreements maintain a peaceful approach to getting their rights, even though they are harshly criticized by those who have not proven that their stance is better.
President Mahmoud Abbas’s political adviser, Nabil Shaath, has been one of the main Palestinian negotiators for many years.
He hailed Palestinian leaders adhering to peace as a way to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as the capital.
Many achievements had been made, according to Shaath. “We have returned hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the diaspora to Palestine and created institutions and a state economy, even if we are still under occupation,” he told Arab News.
Shaath understood those who criticized the peace option because of the long years of negotiations, but said the flaw was in successive Israeli governments that had worked to destroy the Oslo Accords. The most extreme, aggressive and hostile to peace administration was the current administration headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he added.
The agreement included a statement of principles on arrangements for a Palestinian government of self-transition. The aim of the negotiations at the time was to establish a Palestinian autonomous transitional authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for a period of no more than five years, after which this would lead to a final settlement.
Oslo guaranteed the return of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the diaspora and the building of state institutions, but this did not lead to the creation of an independent state that was supposed to be proclaimed in 1999.
The Al-Aqsa Intifada erupted a few months later and the situation ended in Palestinian internal strife.
Hamas, which opposed Oslo from the first revelation of the negotiations that led to it and refused to run in the first legislative elections held in 1996, still opposes the deal despite participating in the second legislative elections that took place in 2006 and the formation of government at the time.
The conflict over Oslo profits became an entry into the internal division from which the Palestinians suffer to this day. But Hamas does not see a contradiction between its political participation and its continued opposition to a political solution with Israel.
Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Hazem Qasem, told Arab News that the Oslo Accords had plunged our cause and our people into a maze of political absurdity and drew on it the annexes to the agreements from which our people reaped most of the shackles and concessions. .
Qasem said the agreement was responsible for the continued withdrawal of the Palestinian cause in exchange for the expansion of the Zionist project through the expansion of settlements and the handcuffing of Palestinians to security and economic agreements.
He added that Hamas had demonstrated the correctness of its position in rejecting the peace option and that only the resistance was capable of extracting rights for the Palestinians.
Hamas, by participating in the legislative elections, had managed to provide a tent and protection for the resistance in Gaza.
The leader of Islamic Jihad, Ahmed Al-Mudallal, said Oslo was the beginning of the deviation and division that the Palestinian people were enduring.
To those who have led us to believe that we are moving from occupation to independence: Here we are moving towards more occupation, displacement, murder, arrest, Judaism, settlement, famine and siege, Al-Mudallal told Arab News.
Political science professor Ibrahim Abrash believed that everything on earth meant that the Oslo Accords were over. Israel had played a key role in drafting the terms of the agreement and, on the ground, practiced everything that conflicted with the political settlement process and the land principle for peace.
All Palestinians have reached a dead end, whether Hamas or Fatah, he told Arab News. We need a renewal of political life and, without it, the dream of liberation and the state will not see the light.
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