THERE IS A growing recognition in Israel that the agreement (Declaration of Principles), signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Oslo in September 1993, is fatally flawed.
The flaws are so deep that even the co-author of this declaration, Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, is beginning to realize that the agreement may be impossible to implement. This is largely due to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat's refusal -- or inability -- to, as he promised, revoke the sections of the Palestine Covenant calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Mr. Rabin is not alone in feeling uncomfortable with the status of Israel's relations with the PLO. Israel's president, Ezer Weizman, a longtime dove, is so concerned about the state's security that he is calling for a reassessment.
Still, with all these negatives, it may be possible to achieve a better degree of peaceful coexistence between the Jews and the Muslim Arabs by reexamining, possibly modifying, and implementing the Allon Peace Plan of 1968.
That plan was designed to break the deadlock with the Arab population. Yigal Allon was a member of the Israeli cabinet and a general in the reserves. Under his plan, the areas on the West Bank with large Arab populations would be self-governing enclaves. Security would be the responsibility of the Israeli army and the Jordan River would remain Israel's boundary.
In retrospect, it is difficult to understand how two seasoned Israeli politicians, Mr. Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres could enter into an agreement with Mr. Arafat, a man who did not disguise his ultimate aim -- the destruction of Israel. The stationery of the PLO lists Yasser Arafat as president of Palestine. The map of the chairman's state is shown to encompass all of Israel.
The Palestinian Covenant is Mr. Arafat's version of Adolph Hitler's "Mein Kampf." The Nazi chief outlined his strategy for world domination and blamed the Jews for all of Germany's problems. Similarly, Article 6 of the covenant calls for the expulsion of all Jews who came to Palestine after 1917. The remaining Jewish inhabitants, however, would be allowed to live as a minority in the Palestine state.
As long as the covenant remains intact, the policy of the PLO and the Palestine extremists of Hamas, calling for the cleansing of the Jewish presence from the Holy Land, is a constant.
There is covert cooperation between the groups. Hamas operates terrorist training camps in the Gaza Strip with the full knowledge of the PLO chairman. The strip provides a safe haven for the terrorists, since the Israelis are denied the right of hot pursuit.
This cooperation serves to mask Hamas' growing power and its ultimate objective. The well-educated leaders of this terrorist group are in fact using Mr. Arafat in the hope of gaining territorial concessions from the Jews. Then, they figure it will be time to eliminate the chairman and reap the rewards from his gains.
In desperation, Mr. Rabin has prepared a new and unrealistic panacea to deal with the growing slaughter. He would build fences to separate the Israeli Jews from their Muslim cousins.
There are about 140,000 Jewish settlers in 140 settlements in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza.
For the past year a 54-kilometer fence has been under construction around the Gaza. Already the Palestinians have been sabotaging this barrier by stealing thousands of the iron fence posts.
Meanwhile, the credibility of Mr. Rabin, among the Israelis, is eroding as more and more Jews are killed. They question his pledge to protect the settlers while, at the same time, removing the Israeli Defense Forces from the highly populated areas of the West Bank.
The slogan "Land for Peace" rings hollow. Israelis with long memories recall that the original British Mandate for Palestine encompassed also the eastern bank of the Jordan River. The Jewish Agency was persuaded to vacate its claim to the eastern bank, "to make the Arabs happy." This not only made them happy but it also whetted their appetite to claim all of the Jewish state.
During the Middle East War in 1967, Jordan joined its Arab brothers with the intent to occupy all of "Palestine." Instead, the Israelis forced the Jordanians back across the Jordan and the river became Israel's new eastern boundary.
Jerusalem then had two issues to consider. First, the Israelis had no desire to rule over a hostile population. But their primary responsibility was to provide for their nation's security. They looked for ways to deal with these two problems.
The Labor government of Israel offered Jordan's King Hussein territorial concessions, specifically the return of a large part of the land he had lost, in return for a peace treaty. The monarch refused Jerusalem's tender, probably because he did not want to assume the responsibility for governing his rebellious subjects on the West Bank.
Some variation of the Allon plan could be unilaterally imposed without years of bickering. As to the question of whether the Arabs would accept it, the alternative is the unmanageable situation brought about by the current Rabin-Arafat agreement. Its flaws make it a threat, rather than a salvation, for Israel. The Allon plan, or a variation of it, promises a greater degree of security.
Stanley A. Blumberg, with Gwinn Owens, is author of "The Survival Factor," a history of Israeli intelligence.