In Basel Herzl founded the Jewish state, in Oslo we nearly destroyed it

“The Palestinian dictatorship is an Yisraeli invention.” – Bassem Eid, Human Rights Activist

The Oslo Accords of 1994 created new realities, ones that I venture to say have drastically changed not only the face of the middle east and the Yisraeli society but also the outlook, lexicon and attitudes to our regional conflict in many parts of the world. The battlefield has moved to the war of words, occasionally accompanied by violence on the ground.

Make no mistake, dear readers. I do believe in the need to find a permanent answer to the problems currently facing our part of the world. I also believe that it is a much more complex issue than many of us can grasp or try to tackle. I am just one little Yisraeli woman who is frustrated and feels that we have reached a dead end as far as finding a solution to the crisis.

Over the years many proposals were made, evaluated and considered. Oslo, is one of them, one that was implemented. Yes, hindsight is always 20/20. Vision is not one gift bestowed on many. But what about our leaders? One would expect leaders to have vision, to be able to look at the past and pave a way to a better future. Or was it merely a stepping stone to create a better future for them, for a selected few, an opportunity for a brief encounter with the limelight of glory, fame and perhaps wealth?

Unlike some of the Oslo architects, Herzl, the founder of Political Zionism, did not share glory, wealth or fame. His road was never strewn with roses. His great vision to create a safe Homeland for the Jews, a place where Judaism, which in his words was a pre-requisite to Zionism, can thrive and prosper did not come by easily. His unrelenting efforts to persuade world leaders to create a Jewish state, must have taken their toll on him. His unsuccessful negotiations for the granting of mass Jewish immigration to Eretz Yisrael (AKA “Palestine”) with the Sultan of Turkey, left him frustrated. His efforts to enlist the British towards his vision, where they offered first the Sinai Peninsula and later Uganda in East Africa as two possible alternatives, also failed.  The rejection and opposition he suffered from his own Jewish people were, likewise, devastating to him.  They probably eventually cost him his life, an untimely death from heart failure at the age of 44 .

It took time but Herzl’s dream eventually materialized. It had to overcome a complex historical forces, each pulling in their own direction. It probably also emerged through taking advantage of some historical accidents. Whatever the cause, whatever the circumstances, it did come true. The Jewish state was founded.

Unlike Basel, Oslo, in my view, came to found a new entity, in an effort to preserve the already existing Jewish state that Herzl toiled so hard to create. Unfortunately, I feel, that in a desperate attempt to implement a solution, any solution, Yisrael and the world rushed irresponsibly to employ what seems to have been not a very carefully planned alternative. We all paid dearly for what has turned out to be a failed experiment that helped a few but shattered the lives of many. Other than creating a fragile, corrupt straw entity that keeps milking the funds of many, what have we achieved? Its leaders remained mayors, their towns are Judenfrei more than ever, hatred continues to be preached and its dream to free Eretz Yisrael of Jewish people still lives on.

After the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Herzl wrote the following in his diary:

“If I had to sum up the Basel Congress in one word-which I shall not do openly-it would be this: At Basel I founded the Jewish state. If I were to say it today, I would be greeted by universal laughter. In five years, perhaps, and certainly in 50, everyone will see it.”

My question was and still is, will the architects of the Oslo Accord ever be able to write similar words in their diaries?

About the Author
Bat-Zion Susskind-Sacks is an English teacher and a pro Israel advocate. She lives in Israel and has recently published her first novel, "On A Wing From The Holy Land."