In Memory of Ron Pundak, a Soldier for Peace

Terje Rod-Larsen, key figure of the Oslo Accords' drafting, offers a eulogy for treaty's architect, who passed away Friday.

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Ron Pundak at the 10th anniversary of the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa. March 27, 2014.Credit: Nir Keidar

A knight for peace, in shining white armor, a soldier for and a true believer in peace and the best of mankind, Ron Pundak has left us. Ron was a scholar, a soldier for peace, and a warmhearted gentleman.

He dedicated his life in an energetic and relentless struggle for peace between Palestinians and Israelis, between Arabs and Jews. I met him the first time more than 20 years ago, when he became a part of the Israeli team, which together with Palestinian colleagues, reached the first comprehensive agreement between the PLO and the state of Israel, the Oslo Accords of 1993. He was in many ways the lynchpin in the talks.

When emotions ran high Ron was always the coolheaded one, who with his gentle smile and soft-spoken voice calmed the hot-heads. His moral compass, honesty, and sense of fairness was not only essential for the talks to survive, but also led to friendships between the Palestinian and Israeli teams, which lasted for the rest of his life. In various functions he for the next more than 20 years continued relentlessly to pursue the goal of his life: peace and reconciliation.

Ron, you will be deeply missed, but you have left behind a lasting legacy and spirit, which will continue to inspire. I will forever cherish the memory of you and keep in my heart that everlasting inspiration.

Terje Rød-Larsen

Istanbul, 11 April 2014

Rød-Larsen, a Norwegian diplomat and sociologist, was a key figure in the drafting of the Oslo Accords. He serves as Under-Secretary-General of the UN, and since 2004 is president of the International Peace Institute.

Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat at the ceremony marking the signing of the Oslo peace accord on the White House lawn, September 13, 1993.Credit: AP