Bill Clinton: Abbas has approved terms of an agreement

In op-ed marking the death of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, former US president expresses optimism for a successful outcome to peace talks.

Bill Clinton kind of smiling 311 (photo credit: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Bill Clinton kind of smiling 311
(photo credit: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has approved the terms of a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, wrote former US president Bill Clinton in a New York Times op-ed marking the assassination of prime minister Yitzak Rabin on Thursday.
"Because of the terms accepted in late 2000 by Prime Minister Ehud Barak,  supported in greater detail by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,  and approved by President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinians," he wrote,  "everyone knows what a final agreement would look like."
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On the fifteenth anniversary of Rabin's death, Clinton describes his relationship with the late prime minister, calling him "my friend" and recounting affectionate anecdotes.  On a more serious note, the 42nd US president describes Rabin as someone who was ahead of his time, "laid down his life to secure Israel’s future."
Had Rabin lived, he said, there would have been "a comprehensive peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians within three years."
The former president has expressed similar views on the subject before, most recently telling an audience of businessmen in Egypt last month that both sides knew the outlines of any final agreement and said it was similar to the one he hammered out with Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak in 2000.
Clinton presided over the breakthrough Oslo Accords in 1993 that led to direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians over the principle of land for peace as well as a last ditch effort to negotiate a final agreement in 2000 before violence derailed negotiations.
"They're not even pretending now that they are not basically going to go back and take the modernized version I authored in 2000 that Israel accepted," he said in that speech expressing frustration with the current impasse in the talks over settlement construction.
"They blew 10 years and complicated the problem demographically by not doing this in 2000. It must be done," he said.
In his New York Times op-ed, Clinton expressed an optimism in the possibility of a successful outcome and "finishing" the work Rabin started , saying "Israel has its best partner ever in the Palestinian government on the West Bank led by President Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad."
AP contributed to this report.