Israel on the Road to Peace: Accepting the Unacceptable

Israel on the Road to Peace: Accepting the Unacceptable

Israel on the Road to Peace: Accepting the Unacceptable

Israel on the Road to Peace: Accepting the Unacceptable

Synopsis

Focusing on the domestic political scene, Flamhaft exposes the efforts of the Israeli political right to undermine the peace process and illuminates the dramatic consequences of that process.

Excerpt

This book went to press shortly after the tragic assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at a Tel Aviv peace rally on November 4, 1995. The killer, a twenty-five year old Israeli hard-liner, was reportedly a member of Eyal, an obscure, Jewish, right-wing, underground militant group founded in 1990 by members of the Kach movement, the latter banned in 1994. The horrendous act of the assassin, which apparently enjoyed the blessing of a number of ultra-nationalist rabbis, induced tremendous outrage against extremist groups in Israel and enormous support for the peace process. Evidently, the assassination was meant to stop the implementation of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, also known as Oslo II, which was approved by Rabin's cabinet on September 27, 1995, signed in Washington on September 28, and ratified by the Knesset on October 6 by a vote of 61 to 59. If. implemented, it would relinquish less than one-third of the West Bank to Palestinian control.

The agreement was structured to broaden Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank for an interim period not exceeding five years from the signing of the Gaza-Jericho agreement (no later than May 1999). It set the timetable for the permanent status negotiations to begin no later than May 1996, two months after the Israeli Defense Forces are scheduled to complete their redeployment from the last West Bank city. In his comprehensive speech to the Knesset upon the agreement's ratification, Rabin reassured the country that, among other things, the permanent solution would ensure that greater Jerusalem would remain united under Israeli sovereignty and that the borders of the State of Israel would extend beyond the 1967 lines to include most of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British mandate. He admitted, however, that withdrawal from the 1967 lines was necessary in order to preserve the Jewish and democratic nature of the State of Israel and its security.

Will Rabin's vision prevail after his untimely death? Can the peace process survive the deep cleavages appearing in Israeli society? Can the Labor government implement its agreement with the PLO amid the . . .

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