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Source: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
12 November 1997

Paris, November 12 {No. 97-216}- Today, two years after his tragic death on November 4, 1995, UNESCO paid tribute to Itzhak Rabin. The ceremony was held at Organization headquarters in the Square of Tolerance which is dedicated to the late Israeli Prime Minister.

In the presence of a number of personalities, including Awad Yakhlef, Palestinian ambassador and permanent observer to UNESCO, Avi Shoket, Israeli ambassador and permanent delegate to UNESCO, declared: "No matter what difficulties mark the way of the peace process, the iniative engaged by Itzhak Rabin allows no return." He also underlined the major role played by UNESCO and its Director-General, Federico Mayor, who "was the first to initiate a meeting between Israelis and Palestinians, in 1993 in Granada." Mr Shoket, for whom the Organization is "the symbol of the coexistence between our two peoples," added that "At UNESCO, we have a very good relationship with our Palestinian friends." For the Ambassador, "establishing that universe where our children can live in peace, that is the legacy of Itzhak Rabin."

Daniel Janicot, Assistant Director-General for UNESCO’s Directorate, recalled that Mr Rabin had come only once to UNESCO, in 1994, "to receive the Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize," a prize he shared with his Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. M. Janicot re-read passages from Mr Rabin’s address on that occasion: "Handshakes on the White House lawn must be matched by handshakes exchanged between the inhabitants of Gaza and Ashkelon, Jericho and Maale-Adoumim. [...] We have arrived at the point where we must stop dreaming. The time has come to roll up our sleeves." For Mr Janicot, Itzhak Rabin remains "a victim who symbolizes intolerance, because he was the incarnation of immense hope."

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