A Historic Embrace and a Promise of Peace
On this day in 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat embraced following execution of the Oslo accords during a Rose Garden ceremony with President Clinton.
In essence, the accords called for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, and affirmed a Palestinian right of self-government within those areas through the creation of a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority. Palestinian rule was to last for a five-year interim period during which “permanent status negotiations” would commence—no later than May 1996—in order to reach a final agreement. Major issues such as Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlements, and security and borders were to be decided at these permanent status negotiations (Article V). Israel was to grant interim self-government to the Palestinians in phases.
Along with the principles, the two groups signed Letters of Mutual Recognition—the Israeli government recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, while the PLO recognized the right of the state of Israel to exist and renounced terrorism as well as other violence, and its desire for the destruction of the Israeli state.
Prime Minister Rabin. a former Chief of Staff for the Israeli Defense Force, declared:
We the soldiers who have returned from the battle stained with blood, we who have fought against you, the Palestinians, we say to you today in a loud and clear voice: ‘Enough of blood and tears! Enough!’
For their efforts, the two former enemies would be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
Two years later the bloodshed and tears returned when Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing extremist opposed to the treaty.
Clinton recently said:
The two great tragedies in modern Middle Eastern politics, which make you wonder if God wants Middle East peace or not, were [former Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin’s assassination and [former Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon’s stroke.
Each of these events led to Binyamin Netanyahu rising to Prime Minister whom Clinton faults for killing the peace process.