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Arafat Destroyed the Dream of Oslo For Palestinians

In 1993, Gaza and the West Bank wanted to establish a democratic state through the Oslo Accords, while Tunis PLO officials imposed the old Arab regimes' model.  
PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat (R) shake hands with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (L), as U.S. President Bill Clinton stands between them, after the signing of the Israeli-PLO peace accord, at the White House in Washington September 13, 1993. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX13K52
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It happened at 5 p.m., exactly 20 years ago today, on Sept. 13, 1993. The Oslo Accords were signed on the White House lawn. Then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat, PLO official Mahmoud Abbas and US President Bill Clinton stood on the red carpet and shook hands. One member of Fatah, Ihab al-Ashkar, assumed the responsibility of getting all the residents of Gaza out of their houses so that they could celebrate the new era, the "era of peace." He raised money from local businessmen in Gaza and organized workshops to sew Palestinian flags for everyone to decorate their homes.

The people of Gaza had long been forced to be home by 8 p.m. sharp for curfew and remain there until dawn, but that day they received permission to celebrate all night. Ashkar was pleased. Once a member of the first intifada’s high command, he told everyone who would listen that at that very moment he was putting down his arms and living his dream. But not everyone acted the same way. Many people had a different dream. He quickly discovered that others would try to rob the state in the making from him and his friends. They wanted to establish a different kind of state, based on very different foundations.

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