One Land, Two Peoples: The Conflict over Palestine

One Land, Two Peoples: The Conflict over Palestine

One Land, Two Peoples: The Conflict over Palestine

One Land, Two Peoples: The Conflict over Palestine

Synopsis

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has once again captured world attention--this time because of the coming together of Arafat and Rabin as a result of the secret Oslo Accords and the reactions ensuing f

Excerpt

On 30 December 1989, more than 20,000 people--Israelis, Palestinians, Europeans, and Americans--joined hands in a two-and-a-half-mile long circle around the Old City of Jerusalem, sang songs, waved olive branches, and called for peace in the Holy Land. The participants in this demonstration, which was the culmination of a three-day program called "1990--Time for Peace," included Jews, Christians, and Muslims; they represented hundreds of international and regional nongovernmental organizations and spanned the political spectrum. Members of the Israeli parliament and Palestinian political leaders also participated in the event, which was jointly organized by Israeli and Palestinian peace activists. It was the largest peace demonstration in Jerusalem since the 1982 Israeli war in Lebanon and indicated, in the words of one participant, that "we can put aside our dreams and our nightmares, shake each other's hands, and work for peace." 1 It was a hopeful beginning for the last decade in a century that has seen almost continual hostility between Zionists and Palestinians.

Nearly four years later, on 13 September 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), met in Washington, D.C., for the signing of a historic document: Israeli-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements." The official endorsement of the Oslo Accords, as the agreement was quickly dubbed because it was negotiated secretly in Oslo, Norway, was executed by Mahmoud Abbas, chief of the political directorate of the PLO, and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. In the speeches that preceded the signing ceremony, both Arafat and Rabin stressed the momentous nature of the occasion and their hopes for peace.

We who have fought against you, the Palestinians, we say to you today, in a loud and clear voice, enough of blood and tears. Enough. . . . We, like you . . .

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