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This Week in History:
September 9-15, 1993
The Oslo Accords

September 2010

Left to right: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, U.S. President Bill Clinton, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat

Seventeen years ago, on Sept. 13, 1993, in Washington, D.C., Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat signed the "peace of the brave," in hopes of stopping what threatened to become a "perpetual war" in the Middle East. This was an hour of hope, which has subsequently been nearly drowned in blood.

Upon hearing the news of the pending agreement, subsequently known as the Oslo Accords, Lyndon LaRouche succinctly characterized the situation: "The urgent thing here is that we must move with all speed to immediately get these economic development projects, such as the canal from Gaza to the Dead Sea, going immediately, because if we wait until we discuss this out, enemies of progress and enemies of the human race, such as Henry Kissinger and his friends, will be successful, through people like Ariel Sharon's buddies, in intervening to drown this agreement in blood and chaos."

Most hopeful about the agreement was the inclusion of Annexes III and IV, which provided for Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation in Economic and Development Programs. These provision reflected the longstanding input from LaRouche, among others, who argued that the creation of joint economic projects to overcome the water shortage, and general misery of living conditions, was absolutely essential to building the good will between Palestinians and Israelis that would permit lasting peace.

Then-Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, at that point an advocate of a "Marshall Plan" for the Mideast region, directly addressed the question of economic development in remarks on the White House lawn, during the signing:

"We shall support the agreement with an economic structure. We shall convert the bitter triangle of Jordanians, Palestinians, and the Israelis into a triangle of political triumph and economic prosperity.... Let us build a Middle East of hope, where today's food is produced, and tomorrow's prosperity is guaranteed, a region with a common market, a Near East with a long-range agenda."

'Economic Development: The Principal Challenge'

Peres was seconded by PLO Executive Committee member Mahmoud Abbas, the chief negotiator at Oslo for the Palestinian side, who said: "Economic development is the principal challenge facing the Palestinian people, after years of struggle during which our national infrastructure and institutions were overburdened and drained. We are looking to the world for its support and encouragement in our struggle for growth and development, which begins today."

What happened then, to this vision of economic cooperation, and peace? It wasn't terrorism, either by the Palestinian or Israeli extremists, that moved immediately to strangle the agreement in the cradle. It was the IMF and World Bank!!!

Conferences to pull together the credit, and priority list, for economic development projects, were convened, although not for months. No immediate credits were provided, and when the conferences did occur, the major infrastructure projects for water development and transport in the area, were ruled off the agenda as being too costly. Whereas LaRouche had said that ground for new infrastructure had to be broken by the end of September, nothing was done.

The result was predictable. In 1994, there was the first Israeli mass terrorist incident, that of Baruch Goldstein in Hebron. By 1995, the Sharon-nurtured Palestinian terrorist groupings were active, and the distrust began to build, reaching its height, of course, once Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated in November 1995, and thereafter, Ariel Sharon made his trip to the so-called Temple Mount (al-Aqsa mosque) in September of 2000.

It is clear, however, that the best of the Israeli and Palestinian spokesmen still recall that moving ceremony on Sept. 13, 1993, in which two lifelong enemies put aside the axioms of war, and committed themselves to a process of economic development and peace. It's time to remember, and revive, that direction.

The original article was published in the EIR Online’s Electronic Intelligence Weekly, as part of an ongoing series on history, with a special emphasis on American history. We are reprinting and updating these articles now to assist our readers in understanding of the American System of Economy.

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