Oslo Movie Review: Portraying Israeli-Palestinian Secret Negotiations
It has been nearly three decades since the world witnessed the Rose Garden Handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat. This event took place in the White House before the eyes of then US President Bill Clinton. This was an important moment of agreement, as both sides finally recognized the legitimacy of the other. On the other hand, this ‘peace’ did not last long, as Yitzhak Rabin was only murdered by Israeli extremists after two years. The agreement would have been the start of the Oslo process that will advance peace negotiations. These Oslo Accords even gave the PLO limited control over self-government over the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Unfortunately, these accords were vehemently opposed to the aforementioned murder. Now that JT Rogers has come up with the same movie, let’s move on to the Oslo Movie Review.
With the whole world once again witnessing the ongoing events surrounding Israel and Palestine, the film came out at just the right time. Perhaps it is time for us to have some off-the-books peace negotiations between the parties again. The previous meetings in Oslo, Norway, took place over the course of six months. But again, the drama for the same was able to cut it down to measly three hours, while the movie did it in two hours. The main reason these meetings were held in secret was because of former Israeli laws prohibiting interaction with or recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Years later, JT Rogers made a play about the same events that won it the Tony Award. And now we get to see the story from a cinematic point of view, in Oslo that was released on May 29, 2021 on HBO.
Although the ‘Handshake’ took place in the US, the country had little to do with the Oslo Accords. Those who took over the role of brokers who conducted talks between Israel and the PLO were the impartial Norwegian couple Mona Juul and Terje Rød-Larsen. Mona Juul was a diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Meanwhile, her husband, Terje Rød-Larsen, was a sociologist and director of the Fafo Foundation. And they also happen to be the main characters of the movie. This Norweigan link aimed to conduct secret negotiations between Israel and the PLO, while taking them over as escorts. They must provide unbiased opinions on the various events and help the two sides secure the Oslo Accords. These lengthy meetings took place from 1992 to 1993 over the course of six months. The same was mashed into a two-hour window for the film.
Terje and Mona were initially inspired by their visit to the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip. These events took place a few years before the events of the movie. This sparked the couple’s efforts to bring peace to the community. Thus, the couple managed to persuade the representatives to participate in the secret negotiations. There were some interesting conversations as representatives from each group gave their comments on the others. In addition, we even witness a polite conversation when Hassan cheerfully responds to Norweignan Waffles. These reps spend most of the time cooped up in a room with the occasional walk outside the room to try to establish some principles. Here we see how little influence the couple could have in the international negotiations that are taking place before them.
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