Monday, January 23, 2006

Yasir Arafat

Chairman of the PLOThe difficult decision that we reached together . . . required great and exceptional courage. On September 13, 1993, the first peace accord between Israel and Palestine was signed in a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. With U.S. President Bill Clinton presiding, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres hesitantly shook hands with PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat after signing an accord granting Palestine limited self-government on the Gaza Strip and in Jericho on the occupied West Bank. The historic agreement, which promised an end to decades of bloodshed and animosity, was hammered out during secret talks in Norway between representatives of Israel and the PLO. In 1994, Rabin, Peres, and Arafat followed up the Israel-Palestinian Declaration of Principles with a formal peace agreement and, on October 14, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. One year later, on November 4, 1995, Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish right-wing fanatic during a peace rally in Tel Aviv.


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