Architect of Oslo Accords Ron Pundak dies
Ron Pundak, one of the leading figures behind the Oslo Accords, has died aged 59 after a long battle with cancer.
In early 1993, while the official negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in Washington were failing, a secret back channel with the PLO was opened by Mr Pundak together with fellow academic Yair Hirschfield - first in London, and then Oslo.
The breakthrough between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in the Norwegian capital led to the signing of the first Oslo Accord on the White House lawn in late 1993.
Shimon Peres, who was then Foreign Minister and authorised the secret talks, initially without informing Prime Minister Rabin, said: “Ron Pundak was a warrior for peace until his last breath.
“He dedicated his entire adult life to the fight for peace between us and our neighbours. He was willing to do anything for peace, to give every moment of his life. When it came to peace he knew no compromise, he chased justice and breathed peace.”
In Mr Pundak’s book, “Secret Channel: Oslo – the full story”, he wrote that “never in his wildest dreams” did he imagine that the talks would lead to a major agreement with the Palestinians.
Justice Miniser Tzipi Livni, who is the current head of the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, said: “There are war heroes, but Ron was a peace hero.