During the waning months of the Clinton administration, the President sought to at last, finally, and for once and for all achieve "peace in the Middle East." The prime minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, was perhaps the most dovish PM in the history of Israel. Clinton, through his envoy Dennis Ross, pushed the two sides into what even cynical observers called an important breakthrough.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the following: to withdrawal completely from Gaza, to surrender almost all of the West Bank and to give the Palestinians most of Arab East Jerusalem, which would be their new capital. Israel agreed to dismantle Jewish settlements to achieve those objectives, and would allow a certain number of Palestinians to "return" to Israel, with additional compensation for Palestinians not allowed to return.
In exchange Yasser Arafat, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, was required to do one thing -- renounce violence against Israel and accept its right to exist as a Jewish state. Arafat walked away and thus began the so-called Second Intifada, a burst of violence that left over 1,000 Israelis dead by 2005.
The late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir famously said, "Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us." How deep is the hate?
In 1986, Nizar al-Hindawi, a Jordanian, and his pregnant Irish-Catholic girlfriend made arrangements for marriage. They discussed plans for an immediate flight from London's Heathrow airport to Tel Aviv, Israel, followed by a trip to Jordan for the marriage ceremony and a honeymoon. But Hindawi booked a separate flight for his pregnant fiance, explaining to her that -- oops! -- his employer had already paid for him to travel to Israel on a later flight. He bought her a ticket to Israel on El Al, giving her a wheeled suitcase to use.
An alert Heathrow airport El Al screening agent, suspicious of an unmarried, visibly pregnant Irish woman traveling alone to Israel for a vacation during Passover, ordered her luggage searched. Security discovered a false bottom in the suitcase -- clearly unknown to the young pregnant girl -- underneath which lay 3 1/2 pounds of the same type of plastic explosive later used to blow up a Pan Am plane over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Prime Minister Meir also said this: "When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons."