JERUSALEM, Israel -- Friday -- the 13th -- marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords by then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and former PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, under the watchful eye of President Bill Clinton on the White House lawn. Many, if not most, Israelis agree two decades later, the Oslo Accords yielded nothing positive.
According to a Maagar Mahot poll taken for the Oslo anniversary, 57 percent of Israeli Jews say the accords have harmed Israel, 11 percent say they have helped and 20 percent say they have made no difference.
For starters, the Palestinian Authority has not matured into a viable entity ready to assume the responsibilities of independent statehood. On the contrary, the Palestinian leadership has squandered billions in international aid and periodically announces yet another financial crisis requiring an injection of more international funds.
Unfortunately, P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah Central Committee seem to have embraced Arafat's methods of speaking one thing to the secular media in English and the opposite to the Arabic-speaking world.
Abbas, who served under Arafat for decades, has very much followed in his former mentor's footsteps.
Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yossi Kuperwasser and Transportation Minister Uzi Landau, among others, spoke out this week on the fallout from the failed Oslo Accords.
"Chief among the difficulties," Kuperwasser, a brigadier general (res.) with the Israel Defense Forces, wrote, "is the Palestinian organizations' denial of the legitimacy of Israel's existence in any form and specifically the existence as the nation-state of the Jewish people," Israel Hayom reported.
In another opinion piece for the Jerusalem Post, entitled "Oslo and Israel's red lines," Uzi Landau called the Oslo Accords an "historic failure."
"We took Arafat the terrorist and transformed him into a partner for peace," Landau wrote. "The Palestinians are no longer our enemies who want to kill us, but our neighbors. And terrorists became freedom fighters who were protesting the 'occupation,' the cause of their terror," he explained.
"The Israeli people were told that a peace agreement would bring security instead of security bring peace. And above all, if no agreement were reached, then we would be the guilty party because we did not give up enough," he wrote.
"We were promised a day of celebration, but instead it turned out to be a day of mourning. Instead of sanctifying life, we've buried our dead and cared for our crippled and injured."
Today's U.S.-backed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations seem in many ways a continuation of the failed Oslo process.
Emboldened by world opinion, the Palestinians demand that Israel return to the pre-1967 borders (the 1949 armistice lines), dubbed Auschwitz borders because they are indefensible; re-divide its capital, Jerusalem; and agree to receive up to 5 million so-called Palestinian refugees and their descendants into a truncated state with a nine-mile-wide waist in one place -- and that's for starters.
Israel's efforts to achieve peace in the wake of the Oslo Accords -- such as uprooting nearly 10,000 Israelis from 21 communities in the Gaza Strip and four in northern Samaria in a unilateral pullout in 2005 -- have emboldened P.A. leadership to claim ownership of more Jewish cities and towns outside the armistice lines, which were never designated borders in the first place.
The P.A.'s abysmal failure to develop its own infrastructure has led to demands of ownership over what Israel has built. Not only that, Abbas and his aides swear a future Palestinian state will be Judenrein -- the Nazi term for no Jews allowed.
There's a popular Hebrew word that describes this type of thinking: shtu'yot, loosely translated "nonsense." It may just be the operative word to describe the latest round of U.S.-backed negotiations calling on Israel to make more "goodwill gestures" to advance the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security.