Seventeen Years After Rabin’s Assassination: Reviving the Peace Process with his Memory

17 years ago to the week, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. Rabin’s legacy is often defined through his leadership in peace negotiations with the Palestinians, and his premature death still symbolizes the inability to advance a two-state solution to the conflict. As we look back on Israel’s late leader, we must ask ourselves what work is yet to be done in the pursuit of peace; we must assess our own efforts in the advancement of such a cause.

With looming threats from a nuclear Iran, it goes without saying that the Israeli conscious has not been captivated by thoughts of a Palestinian state. Yet, occasional violence at the border with Gaza and news of expanding settlements force us to return our focus, or to at least dedicate some attention, to the peace process. So too does this week’s Presidential election.

Speaking in the aftermath of President Obama’s reelection, former Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed renewed hope in the revival of negotiations. During President Obama’s first term, his administration laid out a proposal for resumed negotiations, based on proposed borders from 1967 as a starting point for discussion. After being criticized for what many believed to be an affront to traditional support for Israel, the President scaled back his efforts to realize dialogue.

With the election season behind us, and the ambition for reelection no longer relevant for the President, it seems plausible that a second Obama term will not only bring about a return to peace talks, but that it might indeed ignite what has long been a stalled process. And with a new Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition on the horizon, we can expect a two-state solution to once again gain a place in American political discourse.

May we only hope that realpolitik will affirm the late Prime Minister’s conviction that peace is indeed possible, and that the coming years will bring about a lasting negotiated agreement.