Overview: History of Israel: 1980-2000

Israeli-Palestinian relations dominate the headlines.

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Even without concrete solutions, the Oslo agreements seemed promising. Things were looking up and in 1994, Israel reached its second peace deal with an Arab neighbor when Rabin signed an accord with Jordanian King Hussein.

Rabin's Assassination

But everything came to a crashing halt in 1995. At a peace rally in Tel Aviv on November 4th, Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, an extremist right-wing Israeli who opposed the peace process. While the Rabin assassination did not halt the peace plan alone, it, along with a series of suicide bombings, led to the 1996 election of Benjamin Netanyahu and his center-right party, Likud.

While Netanyahu's campaign slogan was "Peace with Security," it became clear that he was going to take a hard-line towards negotiations with the Palestinians. The party was more supportive of settlers in the West Bank and Gaza and much less trusting of the Palestinian Authority.

While the Oslo Accords were in effect, tensions between Israelis and Palestinians were still high.

 By the end of the century, Prime Minister Ehud Barak was preparing to offer a peace deal to Arafat that would eventually be rejected. Instead of peace, a second Intifada broke out in Israel leading to more years of violence and deferred peace.

 

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