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      Peres: Selling Oslo to Rabin was Tough

      President delivers address at 16th memorial to slain leader.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 11/9/2011, 8:36 PM

      Peres at Rabin memorial ceremony
      Peres at Rabin memorial ceremony
      Flash 90

      President Shimon Peres memorialized slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin Wednesday on the 16th anniversary of his murder.

      Peres, who as Foreign Minister in 1992 convinced Rabin to allow the terrorist leadership under Yasser Arafat to seize power and arm in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, said at the ceremony it was not easy to sell the "Oslo Accords" to Rabin.

      "Yitzhak was skeptical until the decision, and determined afterward," Peres said near Rabin's tomb at Har Herzl. "It was hard to convince him, but once he was convinced the doubts were gone and were replaced by determination. Difficulties did not deter him. I saw him overcome his internal difficulties, when for instance he had to shake the hand of the Palestinian partner. Once he did it he whispered on my ear: 'now it is your turn.'"

      This claim was disputed by Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, who was Head of Military Intelligence in late 1995. Yaalon wrote in a book that by August 1995 Rabin realized that Arafat was lying to Israel on various matters and was insincere regarding peace, but preferred to wait until PA elections were held in January 1996 before confronting him. "My understanding was that if Rabin were alive, he would have reached a confrontation with Arafat in early 1996," he wrote.

      Rabin's daughter Dalia said in a 2010 interview that she had been told by people close to her father that he was on the verge of cutting short the Oslo process when he was killed.

      Israel's courts determined that Yigal Amir assassinated Rabin and that the Shin Bet was guilty, at worst, of negligence in protecting the Prime Minister. However, some Israelis believe that a more sinister conspiracy was involved. The assessment that Rabin was about to discontinue the Oslo process has been raised as a possible motive for proponents of the Oslo process to want him dead in 1995.