This is significant, because it would give the U.S. A way of being able to maintain this kind of balance of power in the region. As the trade embargos / economic sanctions against Iran and Iraq would serve as an example of inappropriate behavior. This is because they were being punished, for different activities that were in violation of international law such as: the support of terrorism or the ability of either government to seek out weapons of mass destruction. The Oslo Accords were a way of being able to maintain this balance, by helping to support a strong ally and addressing the issues being faced by their adversaries. Where, this would undermine the position of hostile regimes; while strengthening the support for the U.S., by providing a frame work for dealing with the Israeli / Palestinian issue. (Massoulile 152 -- 155)
When you put these different elements together, this means that the Oslo Accords would serve as a way of being able to build consensus and balance the various interests / powers against one another. This would help to maintain the overall U.S. interests in the region, by supporting the existing status quo. While taking actions that could undermine, the authority of many different governments / regimes that are hostile to the U.S.
Practical Reasons for the Accords
Form the view point of U.S. foreign policy, there were a number of different reason as to why they would support the Oslo Accords the most notable include: the downfall of the Soviet Union and a division that was taking place in the Arab world. The downfall of the Soviet Union was important, because it meant that many hostile states would not receive military and economic assistance. At the same time, the anti-American rhetoric would begin to die down, as there was no significant power that was attempting to paint the U.S. In a negative light. These two factors are important, because they would present an opportunity for the U.S. To take the lead on addressing the issues of the Israeli Palestinian question. As their motives, would no longer be seen with suspicion among the different Arabs states and the Palestinians. (Freedman 348 -- 352)
After the end of hostilities surrounding the Gulf War, the region would be divided. In this case, the traditional enemies of Israel (such as: Egypt and Syria) would openly criticize the actions of another Arab nation (Iraq). The fact that Egypt had: fought several wars with the Jewish state, had normalized relations with Israel and would send troops to Saudi Arabia was proof of a shift that was occurring in these views. This meant that countries that were hostile to the U.S. (Iran) would become more isolated, as their neighbors were supporting the ideas being presented by American officials. This is significant, because it would present an opportunity for the U.S. To exploit this division, to create lasting peace in the region. (Freedman 348 -- 352)
When you put these two elements together, this highlights how the U.S. would have a major opportunity to address the Israeli Palestinian issue, because of the changes that were taking place. This would help to push American authorities to aggressively promote the principals of the Oslo Accords as a way forward. At which point, it became realistic for them to address an issue that has been a major goal of every President since Harry Truman (creating a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine). (Freedman 348 -- 352)
The Effects of the Accords on Israeli Palestinian Relations
The effect of the accords on the peace process is that extremists from both sides would undermine the various provisions. What happened was, once the accords were signed in 1993 there was heated debate in the Arab world and in Israel itself. At the heart of the issue, was if each side could be able to live up to the different provisions, while being able to control the extremist groups that were opposed to the accords. This is problematic, because these voices could continue to have increasing amounts of influence, in areas of politics and the overall levels of violence. As extremists from both sides would attempt to eliminate those who supported the various provisions of the Oslo Accords. A good example of this can be seen with the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin. He was murdered in 1995, by a Jewish right wing extremist, because of his support for the Oslo Accords. (Massoulile 152 -- 155) This is important, because it shows the underlying amounts of violence and opposition that would be faced by both sides.
As a result, a campaign of opposition to the agreement would take place from 1995 onward. Where, various politicians in Israel would begin to question the validity of the agreement and if it will help address Israel's security needs in the future. This would allow politicians that were more conservative and who opposed the agreements to take power (after the Rabin assignation). Where, Benjamin Netanyahu would openly question as to if the accords were legal and could address the security issues facing Israel in the future. Once he was elected Prime Minister, he would engage in actions that would anger Palestinians most notably: settlement building in West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This is troubling, because many Palestinians would see the Oslo Accords as nothing more than words on a piece of paper, with no meaning. At the same time, various extremists groups inside Palestine would engage increased violence against these settlements. Once this began to take place, it would cause the Oslo Accords to completely unravel, as these actions would undermine the trust of both sides. There was an attempt by Ehud Barrack to reenergize the Oslo Accord in 2000 (following his election to Prime Minister in 1999). However, the opposition was so strong against him, that various right wing elements would challenge his authority. At which point, Ariel Sharon would come to power, claiming how people who supported the agreement were out of touch with Israel's security needs. (Massoulile 152 -- 155) This is important, because it shows how violence and the extremist views from both sides would undermine the accords over the long-term.
Clearly, U.S. policy helped to shape the Oslo Accords as way of being able to provide a resolution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. This is because; the downfall of the Soviet Union and the divisive views among the Arab world would present an opportunity to address these objectives. At the same time, it helps the U.S. To maintain a balance of power in the region, by not allowing one nation to become increasingly dominant. This would have an impact upon the larger Israeli Palestinian conflict, as both sides would be affected by the actions of extremists, which would undermine the agreement. When put these different elements together, it is clear that the Oslo Accords were a good first step. However, the fact that they were unable to provide a workable solution moving forward increased the animosity and anger the two sides would have towards each other. This is because they failed to address, key issues that are vital to the success of the agreement to include: settlement building and violence. As a result, the agreement was effective over the short-term, but would fuel future violence because of its shortcomings.
Deeb, Dennis. "Brief Overview of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict." The Collapse of Middle East Peace. Lincoln, NE: I Universe, 2003. 1 -- 7. Print.
Freedman, Robert. "The Arab Israeli Conflict." The Middle East and the Peace Process. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1998. 348 -- 352. Print.
Lochery, Neill. "Security Arrangement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip." The Difficult Road to Peace. Reading, UK: Ithaca Press, 1999. 41 -- 60. Print.