The First Intifada, the Oslo Accords, and the Escalation of Terror: Causalities Revisited
35 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2015 Last revised: 1 Feb 2015
Date Written: January 15, 2015
The analysis of events of the First Intifada focused on the question of how well founded the decisions made at the time were to introduce radical changes in the terror-fighting strategy. Most sources treat the process at Oslo as an outgrowth of Israel’s inability to suppress the Arab riots. We will consider an alternative interpretation in addition to this widespread view. The alternative approach will be based on understanding Oslo as the outcome of developments dictated by certain interests within Israel. The magnitude of the events of 1987-1990 does nothing to explain the leadership’s refusal to come up with a strategy for fighting terrorism in favor of choosing a strategy of pacification instead. Most of the steps taken by the Israeli leadership in the course of the conflict cannot be adequately explained without taking into account the struggle for power and the evolution of the leftist elite’s interests after their loss of the monopoly of power in 1977 — along with their loss of motives for defending the country or the security of its citizens. Citizen security saw a drastic drop in the priority status it had formerly enjoyed as a state objective. This came in the wake of the disintegration of mechanisms of responsibility and the interest taken by the authorities in providing security.
The Oslo Accords were in no way dictated by the First Intifada; even so, the Intifada is used extensively as a means of Oslo legitimatization. In actuality, one and the same process and one and the same political choice led to both the Oslo Accords and the terror boom.
Keywords: First Intifada, Security, Terror incentives, weakness signals
JEL Classification: D74, D78, H56
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation