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CNN 20: Israel and PLO Sign Agreement, May 4, 1994

Aired May 4, 2000 - 1:49 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERT MOORE, ITN REPORTER (voice-over): It was Middle Eastern haggling and diplomatic brinkmanship to the very end. The Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat were encountering difficulties bridging their positions.

But after urgent consultations and last-minute assurances from the Americans and the Egyptian, the final document was signed to cheers of relief.

For Palestinians and Israelis, the high drama comes after an exhausting period of uncertainty and tense negotiations.

In the Gaza Strip, the main Palestinian area that today gained self-rule, there were moments of jubilation, a young Palestinian climbing the fence of an abandoned military base to plant the PLO flag.

The Israelis are leaving the population centers for good, the last of the towers that watched over the huge refugee camps being taken away.

As Rabin and Arafat signed the agreement, Israel's occupation of Gaza, in effect, came to an end.

Most Palestinians here watched in disbelief, families who even during the height of the uprising thought they would not live to see the Israelis handover power.

(on camera): Eight months of torturous negotiations are now over. The Israeli army can finalize their pullout, and the great experiment in Palestinian self-government can begin.

Robert Moore, ITN, in the Gaza Strip.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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