Skip to main content

An open letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Yossi Beilin, who participated in the back-channel negotiations leading the 1993 Oslo Accord, pens an open letter to the Palestinian president calling on him to stay focused on making peace.

Exactly 25 years ago you, secretly, came to my office in Tel Aviv to celebrate the end of an almost two-year effort on a draft for a Palestinian-Israeli permanent agreement. The two negotiators on your side were Hussein Agha and Ahmed Khalidi; my representatives were Yair Hirschfeld and Ron Pundak. We raised a toast with orange juice, because you never drink alcohol.

You were very excited about the fact that for the first time, a detailed plan for peace, accompanied by maps, was agreed upon by Israelis and Palestinians. I promised to show it to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in whose Cabinet I served as minister for economy and planning. You promised to show it to President Yasser Arafat. A few days later, Rabin was assassinated, and the plan was shelved by his successor, Shimon Peres. Our joint paper, known as the Beilin-Abu Mazen Agreement, became the cornerstone of all the following peace plans, from the Clinton Parameters of 2000 to the very problematic Trump plan of 2020.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.