“Enough of blood and tears. Enough. We have no desire for revenge. We harbor no hatred towards you. We, like you, are people, people who want to build a home, to plant a tree, to love, to live side by side with you in dignity, in empathy, as human beings, as free men. We are today giving peace a chance, and saying again to you: Enough. Let us pray that a day will come when we all will say: Farewell to the arms. “
This was the plea of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin during the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles Washington in 1993.
2 years after, 100,00 Israelis joined a rally in the centre of Tel Aviv, supporting Prime Minister Rabin’s efforts to achieve peace with the Palestinians.
When Rabin left the stage, he was shot three times by a Jewish zealot, Yigal Amir, whose bullets killed not only the man but also the peace process he led.
In his personal and political life, Yitzhak Rabin embodied the transformation from animosity to reconciliation, from a military general to a statesman.
Rabin – a decorated military chief who fought against the Jordanians and King Hussein – was elected prime minister to pursue peace. As a statesman, he replaced the military battle with a different type of battle, one which he described as having “no dead and no wounded, no blood and no anguish. This is the only battle which is a pleasure to wage: the battle for peace.”
In 1994, after many bloody wars with thousands killed, Yitzhak Rabin accomplished what was at the time considered impossible: peace with Israel’s neighbour Jordan. This peace treaty – which was signed this week 26 years ago – has kept both Israelis and Jordanians out of war, saving countless lives on both sides.
25 years after his assassination, it is clear that there is no alternative to Rabin’s path of compromise and reconciliation. The only viable way forward is ending the occupation and violence and having two sovereign states living side by side, Israel and Palestine.
We will never forget Yitzhak Rabin who bravely made peace with Jordan, and paid with his life for trying to achieve peace with the Palestinians.
Today more than ever, the region needs courageous leaders who, like Rabin, choose the path of peace over violence. We are proud to work with brave Israelis and Palestinians peace activists who are investing all their efforts in bringing peace about.