Rabin helps bring peaceful end to West Bank siege
Saturday 18 July 1992
The agreement appears to have been personally directed by the new Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, who has always been known to Palestinians in the West Bank as the defence minister who, in 1988, set out to 'break their bones'.
The end of the stand-off at al-Najah University in Nablus - which began when soldiers claimed that armed suspects were on the campus - came just two days ahead of the arrival in Israel of the US Secretary of State, James Baker, who will meet Mr Rabin to discuss the next moves in the peace talks.
The US-Israeli meeting would have been ominously overshadowed had the siege at the university not been resolved in time. Mr Rabin, who is committed to achieving Palestinian autonomy within nine months and has told the Palestinians he is offering them the best deal they will ever get, had a great interest in finding a peaceful way out of the crisis.
Similarly, it seems, the Palestinian leaders - who will also be meeting Mr Baker - were keen to end the siege peacefully, and display their own capacity for leadership and calm. Faisal al-Husseini, the Palestinian leader directly involved in the negotiations, said: 'Wisdom and patience allowed us to reach this agreement. Neither side wanted this confrontation before we resumed the peace process.'
The formula for resolving the conflict allowed six suspects, wanted by the Israeli army, to leave the campus in safety and to be handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross. They are to be expelled to Jordan. It was agreed that the suspects would not be allowed to return to the West Bank for three years.
The agreement was clearly a climb-down for the Israeli army. The order to accept the formula appears to have come directly from Mr Rabin.
Relief was evident on all sides after the agreement. A bloody and divisive clash at Nablus could have destroyed the delicate process of Arab-Israeli confidence-building that is now under way.
Although the Nablus episode appears to be over, it is certain to impinge on the talks between Mr Rabin and Mr Baker. Palestinian leaders are calling for conciliatory measures from Mr Rabin to reassure their people that peace will bring them benefits, and to give the leaders themselves credibility in the streets.
Among other things, the Palestinian leaders want an early withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the release of political prisoners and the easing of military directives which drastically curtail human rights. If confidence has indeed been built up through resolution of the Najah crisis, perhaps there will be greater will to make such concessions.
peopleContenders for Time magazine's Person of the Year are a mixture of the good, the bad and the holy
newsAs the world remembers Mandela the hero, the prison where he spent 27 years seems all the more brutal
tvSteven Moffat reveals the actor was dying to take on the role of the Time Lord and says he is excited to see what he will do with the character
sportBayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3: City come from two down to beat reigning European Champions
arts + ents... and a chance to paint Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel
danceUnder Tamara Rojo's inspired direction, it seems possible that it could challenge the dominance of the Royal Ballet. We meet some established names and rising stars
travelDiscover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side
The ten coldest places on Earth
Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Nelson Mandela memorial: Cheers, jeers and a masterclass from Barack Obama that stole the show
- 1 Mountain goats' miraculous escape from avalanche captured in dramatic video footage
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
- 4 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial
- < Previous
- Next >
£50000 - £65000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading mark...
£60000 - £85000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading asse...
£22000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Junior/Grad C# .NET Wi...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer (VB6,.NET, SQL, Winforms) Wokin...