By Christoforos Christofis
September 13, 1993. Bill Clinton hosts the Oslo Accords signing ceremony at the White House. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat sign the agreement that provides for the creation of the Palestinian Authority which would evolve into an independent state. The two leaders, together with the Architect of the agreement, Shimon Peres, share the Nobel Peace Prize a year later. As it turned out, this would be all that would remain of the historic agreement, which would eventually remain on paper and at worst be stained with blood.
Israel’s conservative right has opposed the agreement from the outset and views the peace process as a betrayal of the Jews. The country is divided in two. Demonstrations, counter-demonstrations, violence begetting violence.
A grand rally in favor of the peace process is organized in Tel Aviv’s Kings Square.
Yitzhak Rabin – Former Prime Minister of Israel
I would like to thank each and every one of you who came here against violence, for peace.
Those were his last words…
About half an hour ago, after the solidarity rally in Kings Square in Tel Aviv, there was an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
9:30 a.m., then 25-year-old Jewish extremist Yigal Amir shoots the Prime Minister in cold blood with a semi-automatic. 1 hour and 32 minutes later, Rabin breathed his last in the hospital. In his pocket was found a blood-stained paper with the lyrics of the song for peace, which he performed that night at the rally.
The whole planet is shaken. So does Yasser Arafat…
Yasser Arafat – Former President of the Palestinian Authority
I am very saddened and very shocked by this awful and terrible crime.
Against one of Israel’s brave leaders and peacemakers.
His funeral is also turning into a rally, with the participation of 80 leaders. Among them leaders of the Arab world, such as the King of Jordan and the President of Egypt.
Maria Karchilaki – Journalist
The emotion is obvious and the hope is one. May his dream for peaceful coexistence of Israelis and Arabs in the Middle East not die.
Bill Clinton – Former US President
To all the people of Israel, as the peace process continues, I promise you that America will not abandon you either.
Rabin died for and with both states. His killer was sentenced to life in prison. Shimon Peres temporarily took over as prime minister, and a year later Netanyahu – an opponent of the Oslo Accords – was elected.