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September 20, 2013 9:00 am

On 20th Anniversary, Rabin Aide Eitan Haber Reflects on Oslo

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Bill Clinton, Yitzhak Rabin, and Yassir Arafat at the Oslo Signing Ceremony, September 13, 1993. Photo: Wikipedia.

Times of Israel – Exactly 20 years after a clearly hesitant Yitzhak Rabin shook hands with Yasser Arafat to start the Oslo peace process, and almost 18 years after Rabin was gunned down by an Israeli Jewish right-wing extremist, Eitan Haber, Rabin’s closest aide, says he personally never believed Arafat was a partner and isn’t sure that Rabin did either. And yet, Haber insists, Rabin thought he could reach a permanent accord with Arafat because he, Rabin, would lead the effort, and he, Rabin, could attain the goal.

Haber issues a series of such complicated observations during an interview marking Oslo’s 20th anniversary. He also says that Israel benefited immensely from the Oslo process, even though it did not lead to the hoped-for end-of-conflict accord. He says the second intifada started because of then opposition leader Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000, not because of Arafat. But “to anyone who would say the opposite, I would say, he is also correct.”

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