Year in review

"The way of Mr. Peres brought neither peace to Israel nor real security. It brings us fear ... It is not one of my dreams to tour the palaces of Europe with Arafat, as Mr. Peres is doing."

Benjamin Netanyahu, just before his election

Israel "must respect the agreements we have achieved, even if we don't like the dreams our partners may have."

Shimon Peres,
just after the election

We chose Benjamin Netanyahu's election as the top story of the year because it changed the outlook for peace between Israelis and Arabs, which has repercussions far beyond the Middle East.

Since 1993, Israel and its Arab neighbors had been moving slowly toward peaceful compromise. Israel had signed agreements with the Palestinians and Jordan and begun talks with Syria. Troops were withdrawing from the West Bank, allowing Palestinians self-rule

The elections in May were, in a sense, the first public referendum on the PLO peace agreement. One of the architects, Prime Minister Shimon Peres, seemed certain to win another term over the hard-line Netanyahu, who wanted to reverse the land-for-peace process. The story of what happened in Israel in 1996 is the story of elections, suicide bombings, a deadline not met, and an archeological tunnel.

Related stories and sites Arafat elected

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