Rabin’s hand-drawn map from 1993 peace talks up for auction
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Rabin’s hand-drawn map from 1993 peace talks up for auction

At time of Oslo Accords, Israeli prime minister sketched out borders, scrawled population figures on hotel stationery; bidding to start at $25,000

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Part of a hand-drawn map by former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, dating from 1993 during Oslo Accords peace negotiations, that was put up for auction, September 26, 2019. (Nate D. Sanders Auctions)
Part of a hand-drawn map by former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, dating from 1993 during Oslo Accords peace negotiations, that was put up for auction, September 26, 2019. (Nate D. Sanders Auctions)

A hand-drawn map by former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, sketched in the year the Oslo Accords were signed between Israel and the Palestinians, is up for auction.

The 1993 map, drawn by Rabin on stationery paper from the Sheraton Jerusalem Plaza Hotel, measures 5.5 x 9 inches and is the only known such drawing by the prime minister, Nate D. Sanders Auctions said in a statement Wednesday.

In addition to roughly marking out Israel’s pre-1967 borders, the map includes numbers marked at various locations, but no place names, and Rabin’s signature scrawled in English letters at the bottom. An accompanying piece of paper, “likely in another hand” explains that the numbers are population figures, according to the lot’s description on the auction house website.

On the reverse side of the map page is a first draft of the map, which is scribbled over.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin speaks with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat before a news conference Sept. 25, 1996, at the Erez crossing into the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Bidding is to start at $25,000 when the map goes under the hammer on Thursday, the statement said.

“The context for this map is as important as the sketch itself,” auction house owner Sanders said in the statement. “Rabin, [Shimon] Peres and [Yasser] Arafat received the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize, an award that continues to be discussed today. Rabin’s hand-drawn map is of tremendous historical, political and cultural importance.”

A hand-drawn map by former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, dating from 1993 during Oslo Accords peace negotiations, that was put up for auction, September 26, 2019. (Nate D. Sanders Auctions)

The map comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from University Archives, a recognized authority on rare manuscripts.

It is not clear exactly when the map was drawn or under what circumstances. It will be sold with a photo of Rabin drawing the map, and is stamped on the back by photographer Robert A. Cumins, who was present at the September 13, 1993, Oslo Accords signing ceremony on the lawn of the White House in Washington.

Rabin was assassinated in 1995 by a Jewish ultra-nationalist opposed to his peace moves.

The first Oslo Accords were signed in the presence of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and then US president Bill Clinton. The actual signatories were Mahmoud Abbas for the PLO, Israel’s foreign minister Shimon Peres, US secretary of state Warren Christopher, and Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev.

The accords kicked off what was hoped to be a process leading to an eventual peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians. Along with a second accord signed in 1995, the Oslo documents included recognition of Israel by the PLO and recognition by Israel of the PLO as the representative body of the Palestinian people. They also established the Palestinian Authority for Palestinian self-governance in some parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Rabin was not the only regional leader to sketch out peace maps by hand during peace talks. In 2008, then-prime minister Ehud Olmert presented Abbas, who had succeeded Arafat as president of the Palestinian Authority, a proposal for territorial compromises. Olmert did not allow Abbas to keep the map, but, according to Palestinian lore, after returning to Ramallah Abbas drew a rough copy on a napkin for his officials.

In 2013 the Walla website published in Hebrew, and TheTower.org in English, a version of the Abbas map that he had drawn on official Palestinian Authority stationery.

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