A just peace for Palestinians and Israelis possible if lessons are learnt, says Oxfam

By agency reporter
November 16, 2019

Any new peace process between Israelis and Palestinians will be set to fail if lessons from the past are not learned, Oxfam says in a new report, From Failed to Fair.

More than a quarter of a century after the signing of the Oslo accords, and in the wake of devastating violence in Gaza, Oxfam OPTI Policy and Campaigns Manager Alison Martin said the international community must take urgent action to progress sustainable peace and prevent further conflict:

"The distressing escalation of violence in and near Gaza serves as a warning to all of us: Palestinians and Israelis can't wait any longer for peace. Twenty-six years of a failed peace process has seen a continued denial of rights and a seemingly endless cycle of violence. Urgent action must be taken to address the root causes of the conflict and progress long term and just peace.

Since the Oslo accords were signed, the number of Israeli settlers in illegal settlements has quadrupled, hundreds of kilometres of wall have been built and two million people in Gaza are blockaded and suffering soaring unemployment rate, now at 52 per cent.

"Now is the time to assess why past processes failed, and what must be done differently to ensure any new approach is inclusive, just and sustainable", Ms Martin said.

To ensure a new peace process does not repeat mistakes, Oxfam found any new negotiations must be:

  • entrenched in human rights and rooted in international law
  • monitored by third parties, have clear timelines with accountability when they are ignored
  • ensure the inclusion of women, young people and marginalised groups

"The peace process so far has allowed violations of international law, entrenched the denial of rights and freedoms, and ignored those who are key to its success", Ms Martin said.

Oxfam's research is based on interviews with those close to the Oslo Accords process. The report identifies its fundamental flaws and provides a clear path and paradigm to ensure any new process ultimately leads to peace.

Interviewees indicated that former peace processes disregarded core principles of inclusiveness and human rights, allowed with impunity breaches of international law, and created an environment that exacerbated rather than alleviated aid dependency and conflict.

The research found that rights were first ignored, and then forgotten, which has led to decades of injustice and violence. Since the Oslo accords were signed, the number of Israeli settlers in illegal settlements has quadrupled, hundreds of kilometres of wall have been built and two million people in Gaza are blockaded and suffering soaring unemployment rates: 74.5 per cent among women and 69 per cent among youth. The intra-Palestinian political division has further weakened prospects for peace.

Ms Martin said: "The international community bears responsibility for the gross failure of the peace process. It cannot sit idly by and allow Palestinians and Israelis to endure another two decades of false promises and failed peace."

* Read From Failed to Fair here

* Oxfam International https://www.oxfam.org/en

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