This episode focuses on one of the toughest issues in the world, namely efforts by the US to reconcile the Zionist national movement, or Israel, and the Palestinian national movement. The interviews focus on two key moments in recent decades that aimed to bring Israel and the Palestinians closer to peace: the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accords were significant because these talks marked Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian nationalist movement. Rabin sacrificed more than just political capital for these efforts: he lost his life for them, to an assassin’s bullet at a peace rally in Tel Aviv in November 1995. A decade later, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon chose to pull out 8,000 settlers from Gaza. Sharon was the architect of the settlement movement and, therefore, had a unique political credibility to make this decision.
Host David Makovsky discusses this these moments with two individuals who were both personally involved. Tzipi Livni has served as Israeli foreign minister, justice minister, opposition leader, and head of the Israeli negotiating team during the 2013-2014 Kerry peace talks. Dennis Ross is David's colleague at the Washington Institute and co-author of Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel’s Most Important Leaders Shaped its Destiny (which features chapters on both the Oslo Accords and Gaza disengagement). He has served in multiple US administrations, including as Middle East envoy and chief negotiator in the H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations.