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Oslo Accords a Mixed Memory For Israel

On the 20th anniversary of Oslo, there are no celebrations.
FILE PHOTO 21NOV97 - FOR RELEASE WITH BC-ISRAEL-ANNIVERSARY-CHRONOLOGY - Prime Minister Golda Meir (R) accompanied by her Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, meets with Israeli soldiers at a base on the Golan Heights after intense fighting during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Israel was simultaneously attacked by Syria and Egypt on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement when all of Israel comes to a standstill, and was only able to defeat both countries when the United States provided an emergency major resupply of e
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Twenty years after the signing of the Oslo Accords on Sept. 13, 1993, at the White House, there is not even a small square or a side alley to be found in Israel bearing the name of the agreement. Few, if any, see fit to celebrate, or just to mark, the anniversary of the Oslo Accords. Palestinian terrorism and the Israeli right wing have since managed to turn the photo of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn into a contemptible memory. This deeply significant event that saw Arafat accept Israel as a legitimate state competes with the Yom Kippur War for a top spot on the list of the country’s greatest national failures.

Gideon Avital-Epstein, in his new book, 1973 – The Battle for Memory (Schocken Books), writes that “anyone who was here in the Yom Kippur War remembers where he was and what he was doing, but there are no streets in the cities named after the Yom Kippur War or the [battle of] the Chinese Farm, as there are after the 1967 Six Day War.” On Yom Kippur 2013 as well, 40 years after the war, it appears that the scar has yet to heal, not just for the thousands of soldiers who watched their friends die in battle, but also in the national psyche. The Yom Kippur War resulted in a collective trauma.

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