Peace advocate dies in hail of bullets
The Israeli – Palestinian conflict is so multi-faceted, it is hard to keep track the many landmark events that have marred the relationship. One of the most shocking and unexpected events was the killing of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on November 4, 1995.
Rabin was the Prime Minister of Israel on two separate occasions. The first, from 1974 to 1977 followed the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Rabin initiated peace talks with Egypt that effectively ended the decades of military conflicts between the two countries. The negotiations he started led to the famous Camp David Accords between the two nations.
Rabin left his post as Prime Minister in 1977 after a financial scandal. He made a return to the job in 1992 when he was re-elected. He again set out on a mission to bring peace to the region. In 1993 he signed the Oslo Accords which recognized the Palestine Liberation Authority and granted the PLO partial control over the West Bank and Gaza.
The Oslo Accords enraged many of the more hawkish citizens of Israel. They felt that the PLO was a part of the problem and not a part of the solution. The antipathy for Oslo was felt by many Palestinian terror groups as well. Organizations like Hamas did not want to recognize Israel by signing any sort of deal. A series of suicide bombings rocked the country further damaging Rabin’s reputation amongst many Israelis.
The Nobel Peace Prize that Rabin and Yasser Arafat won after their agreement and famous handshake did not quell any of the feelings of animosity amongst the hardliners on either side. At a rally celebrating the new peace effort on November 4, 1995, shots rang out. Yitzak Rabin was shot twice in the chest at close range and died on the operating table at a Tel Aviv hospital.
The shooter was immediately arrested at the scene of the murder. Most of the world assumed that it would be a disgruntled Palestinian who wanted Rabin dead. That was not the case. The shooter was Yigal Amir, an Israeli extremist who opposed the Oslo Accords.
Amir is serving a life sentence in prison. Hundreds of thousands of people attended memorial services for Rabin including many prominent Muslim leaders. Rabin’s dreams of peace grow ever fainter as the Israeli – Palestinian conflict has devolved into war again.
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