September 10, 2007

Today in Jewish History - Elul 27

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In 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn, signaling the start of a peace process known as the Oslo Accords. Israel agreed to transfer autonomy to the Palestinians, in exchange for a cessation of violence. However, Palestinian terrorists carried out a spate of bus bombings and roadside shootings throughout the 1990s. In July 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak attempted to reach a final agreement, offering the Palestinians 93 percent of the territories -- later upped to 99 percent -- but Arafat balked. As U.S. chief negotiator Dennis Ross would later explain: "Arafat could not accept [the offer]... because when the conflict ends, the cause that defines Arafat also ends." Instead, the Palestinians launched a terror war, known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which claimed the lives of over 1,000 Israelis and 4,000 Palestinians.