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Evaluating the Oslo Accords: 20 Years Later

The inability of Israelis to decide whether the Oslo Accords were an achievement or a failure may be proof that peace is not likely to arrive very soon.
File photograph of Palestinian President Arafat, Israel's Perez and Israeli Prime Minister Rabin showing their Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.  Palestinian President Yasser Arafat was in a coma and in critical condition in the intensive care unit at a French military hospital after his health suddenly deteriorated, aides said November 4, 2004. Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, (L) Israel's Shimon Perez (C) and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin show their Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in this December 10, 1994
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I remember the night well, at the editorial desk of Hadashot, which has long since folded, the emotional columns loaded onto the carefully designed pages. I also remember the discussion at the office of the chief editor, Yoel Esteron. It was clear that there would be a celebratory headline, but above it would also appear a kicker, which would ultimately spark disagreement within the newspaper and anger some readers. I think the kicker read, “Arafat has not denounced terror.”

It was a pinch of salt sprinkled at the height of the excitement on the night the Oslo Accords were signed in Washington by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The next day, the phones rang, and furious letters were sent. Why ruin it, asked disappointed readers? Why highlight this point in particular, and in our paper, the paper of those who support peace?

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