Israeli resumption of bombing contrasts the bankruptcy of Netanyahu with Rabin’s plan for an end to violence.
The moment the peace accord was signed in 1993, screams of happiness were heard in Israel and Palestinian children ran toward Israeli soldiers, hugged them and they celebrated together.
Yitzak Rabin later sipped ice water with a journalist who would become his biographer and explained how he had come to accept the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as a peace partner.
He said there was simply no alternative to negotiating with the Palestinians. And Palestinian statehood was undisputedly on the table.
His triumph can happen again, though Rabin created a better chance of forging a durable reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians than any leader before or since.
At the outset, let me recommend a reference called “Killing A King”, a biography of Rabin written by Dan Ephron. He witnessed the events of the day as a journalist, knew the players and was involved as a participant. While I have worked and lived in the region I do not claim his depth of intimacy with the heroic figures of the time.
A quick sketch of Rabin-the-man: He was the embodiment of modern Israel. He was the first Israeli leader who was native-born. Rabin joined one of Mandatory Palestine’s Jewish armed groups soon after high school — the Palmach strike force. He fought its wars and built the Israeli military from the time he was a young commander in the Palmach, defending Jerusalem in 1948, to being chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces in the 1967 war. Rabin led his country not just in war, but also in peace-making. He combined intellectual honesty with an analytical problem-solving mind.
At the time of the peace accord, Israel still had a law barring its citizens from just meeting with PLO members.
By the time Rabin met Yasir Arafat of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in America, there was a desperate undercurrent flowing in parallel with their peace work.
Exactly eight months before their signatures went on the accord, on February 26, 1993, a bomb exploded in the garage of the World Trade Centre…