Sderot’s Qassam Museum

There is a museum in Sderot, Israel. It only displays one type of object: the Qassam rockets that Palestinians have fired into Israel. There are thousands of them.

Some of the thousands of Qassam rockets fired into Israel by the Palestinians

The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, was a milestone in the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, one of the major continuing issues within the wider Arab-Israeli conflict. It was the first direct, face-to-face agreement between the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. It was intended to be the sole framework for future negotiations and relations between the Israeli government and Palestinians, within which all outstanding “final status issues” between the two sides would be addressed and resolved.

Negotiations concerning the Oslo Accords were conducted secretly in Oslo, Norway, and completed on August 20, 1993. The Accords were subsequently officially signed at a public ceremony in Washington, DC on September 13, 1993, in the presence of PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and US President Bill Clinton.

There were two key elements that are fundamental to the Accords and without which there is no basis for any negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Along with the principles, the Israeli’s and the PLO signed Letters of Mutual Recognition – the Israeli government recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, while the PLO recognized the right of the state of Israel to exist and renounced terrorism as well as other violence, and its desire for the destruction of the Israeli state.

On August 23, 2005, four West Bank Israeli settlements were evacuated and left to the Palestinians. On September 12, 2005, Israel entirely withdrew all civilians and military from Gaza. In June 2006 Hamas, won a majority of seats in Palestinian parliamentary elections, defeating its rival Fatah party. Since June, 2007 Hamas has governed Gaza, and is directly responsible for firing all those Qassam rockets into Israel. The Charter of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which was adopted in 1964, specifically states that Israel has no right to exist and calls for armed conflict to remove any trace of Israel. Hamas’s 1988 charter calls for replacing the State of Israel with a Palestinian Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Hamas does not recognize the right of Israel to exist. This is by no means a minority view among Palestinians.

The Palestinians and Israel are starting a new round of peace talks on Wednesday with a White House dinner.  Hamas was not invited. Hamas was not invited because the Oslo Accords say that the PLO is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and inviting Hamas would be a violation of those Accords. This is a point you will never see discussed in the press. The Palestinians could have had peace with Israel any time they wanted to in the past 62-years since the founding of Israel. They could have had the 1967 borders they are now clamoring for at any time between 1948 and 1967.

The Palestinians do not want peace, they want it all.