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Sunday, September 13, 1998 Published at 07:59 GMT 08:59 UK

World: Middle East

Five years on from Oslo

That handshake that seemed to promised so much . . .

Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of the Oslo accords - the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians that offered hope of a resolution to their decades-long conflict.

The BBC's Paul Adams looks back over the last five years
To mark the occasion, some 40,000 Israelis attended a rally on Tel Aviv on Saturday night organised by the Peace Now movement.

The demonstrators demanded the resignation of the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, whose policies, they said, risked leading the country towards war.

[ image: Rabin's widow, Lea, attended the rally]
Rabin's widow, Lea, attended the rally
The demonstrators gathered in Rabin Square, the site where the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was shot and killed by a Jewish extremist on 4th Nov 1995.

The protest comes during a visit by US special envoy Dennis Ross who has been holding talks aimed at kickstarting the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Shyam Bhatia of The Observer newspaper: trust has gone
In comments made before the rally, Mr Netanyahu said the protestors overlooked the fact that the agreement signed by Mr Rabin had not brought true peace to the country. "From the day we signed the first Oslo agreement we didn't have a single day of peace," he said.

The BBC's Middle East correspondent, Paul Adams, says that five years on from the handshake between the late Isareli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, optimism has all but evaporated.

He says the current Israeli government appears unconvincted about the merits of the Oslo accords, while Palestinians are losing faith in the process.

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