TWENTY-FIVE YEARS ago next week, on Sept. 13, 1993, the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" was formally launched with the signing of the Oslo Accords at a White House ceremony hosted by President Bill Clinton. The moment was captured in an epochal photograph of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat shaking hands before a beaming Clinton.
I was there that day, one of many guests on the South Lawn of the White House invited to witness the encounter in person. A quarter of a century later, there are two things about the event I vividly remember — one small but telling, the other overwhelming and pervasive.
The small detail was Rabin's unwillingness to grasp Arafat's hand. After the documents were signed, Clinton had reached out to coax the two men into a handshake, his outstretched arms nudging them toward each other. Arafat needed no coaxing: Grinning broadly, he readily extended his hand to Rabin. But the Israeli prime minister, clearly uncomfortable, at first didn't reciprocate.
Rabin, who detested the PLO chieftain, had deep misgivings about the Oslo deal . . .