Why the peace project of Yitzhak Rabin failed

Sign of reconciliation

In September 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (left) shakes hands with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the presence of US President Bill Clinton (M) for reconciliation.

(Photo: Reuters)

Tel AvivIt was a handshake with hopes. September 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shakes hands with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for his reconciliation. Between them, the then US President Bill Clinton. The picture of the then Oslo agreement went around the world. More than a quarter of a century later, the spirit of Oslo, a peace in the Middle East, seems to have evaporated – even as US President Donald Trump recently announced a “deal of the century” allegedly resolving the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Now a close associate of Rabin's biography explores the question of why the optimism was premature, why Rabin's peace project has failed, and what that means to the region today. Itamar Rabinovich makes no secret of his veneration for the man who sent him to Washington as an ambassador and with whom he had cooperated closely in the complex negotiations for the return of the Golan Heights to Syria as chief negotiator.

Rabin's commitment to peace was “a natural extension of his former military career,” writes Rabinovich. From experienced general to defense minister to diplomat – that was Rabin's career “Soldier, Leader, Statesman” the work is therefore also in the original, which is now available in German (“Yitzhak Rabin: When peace still seemed possible”).

Rabin was not a naive pacifist, according to biographer Rabinovich. Often he is portrayed as “much more peace-loving” than he really was. Nevertheless, he wanted to settle the conflicts with the Arab neighbors one day. “Peace and security were inseparable for him” – but only insofar as they would not jeopardize the strategic interests of Israel. Israel first, quasi.

Itamar Rabinovich: Yitzhak Rabin – When peace still seemed possible
307 pages
24,90 Euro

Israel's rights, in particular, accused him of wanting to divulge parts of the Holy Land and even labeled the prime minister as a “traitor.” Rabin held against it: “One does not make peace with friends, but with enemies.” He did not convince his opponents with it. On the evening of November 4, 1995, a fanatical orthodox law student fired on a prime minister in Tel Aviv for the prime minister and killed him. The murder had been prepared in detail. Several attempts had previously failed, but without the murder plans were flown.

Rabinovich sees the tragic end of Rabin as a milestone on the way of Israel to the right. It had initiated a swift departure from the peace policy, which had been instrumental to Rabin. The murder revealed a deep social divide that continues to divide the country.

Rabin lacks peace for the project, regrets his companion Rabinovich. A successful peace policy presupposes that the government is headed by a credible and courageous politician. Without saying it, he criticized the government of the current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Rabinovich writes: The “longing for a leader of Rabin's format and his qualities” is “always painful”. Sometimes even diplomats can be direct.

More: The US plans to launch the first part of its Middle East Peace Plan at the end of June. According to US President Donald Trump, it is the “deal of the century”.

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. (tagsToTranslate) Agenda (t) Israel (t) Yitzhak Rabin (t) Prime Minister (t) Peace (t) Palestine (t) Biography (t) Foreign Policy with Land (t) Extremism (t) Itamar Rabinovich (t) Donald Trump


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