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History Book: A short-lived vote for peace

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WORLD Radio - History Book: A short-lived vote for peace

Leaders from Israel and the Palestinians sign a peace memorandum 25 years ago. Plus, a record in flight and Deep Space 1


President Billl Clinton, along with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (far left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (far right) sign the West Bank accord during a ceremony in the White House, Oct. 23, 1998. Associated Press/Photo by Susan Walsh, File

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, October 23rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Up next, the WORLD History Book. Twenty-five years ago, NASA launches Deep Space 1 to explore the asteroid belt. Also 25 years ago, Israel and the Palestinian Authority sign the Wye River Memorandum. But first, Orville Wright sets the world record for flight.

Here’s WORLD Radio intern, Emma Perley.

EMMA PERLEY, INTERN: It’s October 24th, 1911, and a cold and windy day in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Eight years earlier, Orville and Wilbur Wright became the first Americans to fly on that same strip of land. Audio courtesy of Reuters.

AUDIO: As the two brothers prepare to attempt the first catapultic takeoff, man’s age old dream of flight becomes a reality.

Orville settles himself into the cockpit of the Wright Glider as his brother, Lorin, nephew, Horace, and pilot friend Alec Ogilvie (OH-gill-vee) watch from a few feet away.

Orville has already been in the cockpit many times today. At one point, he remains in the air for over 7 minutes. At another, the glider tumbles over as he hangs on for dear life.

Now, the glider hits a 40 mile an hour gust of wind and soars upward. After 9 minutes in the air, Orville sets the world record for unpowered flight that would stand for 10 years. Audio here from a Wright brothers documentary.

AUDIO: Remaining motionless, pretty much motionless over one spot. Marvelous accomplishment.

After touching back down, Orville sends a message to Wilbur, who stayed behind in Dayton, Ohio. He writes triumphantly, “All our theories are proved.”

The next year, Wilbur falls ill, passing away at the Wright family home. But Orville lives to see their aeronautical inventions transform the world. Less than ten years after Orville’s glider flight comes fighter aircraft used in World War I. And in 1944, Orville gets to ride in a four engined airliner named the “Constellation.” In a span of 45 years, the Wright brothers’ dreams of aviation give rise to the era of supersonic airplanes.

Next, on October 23rd, 1998, the Israeli Prime Minister and the Palestinian Authority meet in Wye River, Maryland with President Bill Clinton to discuss peace. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with the press. Audio from AP News:

AUDIO: It’s time to see a change, it’s time to see a vote for a change, a vote for peace.

The agreement stipulates that the Israeli Defense Forces pull out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And it aims to create Palestinian self-government with a Palestinian Council of 82 representatives. Perhaps most importantly, both sides must agree to zero tolerance for violence and terrorism. But during the negotiations, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat threatens to take control of the territories by force. Netanyahu asks him to retract his demands. Here’s AP News again:

AUDIO: President Clinton said recently that it's not enough to have an agreement, it has to be complied with. And threats of violence, overt threats of violence against us are a clear violation of that compliance.

On the final day, it looks like conversations will end without an agreement. Netanyahu requests that Clinton release an American intelligence analyst who is serving a life sentence for selling classified information to Israel. Clinton refuses, and Israel backs down. Finally the agreement is signed at the White House with King Hussein of Jordan attending. Audio here from C-Span.

AUDIO: I think it is fitting that these three great leaders, two signers, one his majesty observing, who know a great deal about war, have come to make peace on this table which for our country has come to embody it. And we thank them. Thank you very much. [audience clapping]

Unfortunately, many conditions of the agreement remain unfulfilled. The Palestinians failed to crack down on violence and terrorism, and so Israel only withdrew 2% of their troops in the West Bank instead of the proposed 13%.

Finally, SpaceX launched a spacecraft on a six year flight to a metal-studded asteroid last week. But that journey would have been impossible without the initial success of Deep Space 1. It launched from Cape Canaveral 25 years ago on October 24th. Audio here from NASA.

AUDIO: 5…4…3…2…1, main engines start and liftoff of the Delta rocket with Deep Space 1! Testing the spacecraft technologies of the next century.

Deep Space 1 is a high risk mission. It tests twelve unproved technologies that could end in catastrophic failures or even explosion. One of these is a futuristic ion engine—the same type that supposedly powers sci-fi starships like the Star Trek Enterprise. It is also a smaller, less expensive spacecraft that can operate more independently of ground control. According to NASA, Deep Space 1 proves to be “the little engine that could.” Here’s project manager Dr. Marc Rayman in 2001.

AUDIO: We tested all of the technology successfully, and then in July of 1999 the spacecraft had a very close encounter with an asteroid as a bonus.

Deep Space 1 transmits data from an asteroid named Braille—including its physical properties and surface composition. Once the first part of its mission is complete, NASA directs the spacecraft to flyby the Borrelly comet. The Deep Space 1 mission results in some of the best images ever taken of an asteroid or a comet.

AUDIO: Deep Space 1 took the risks so that future missions wouldn’t have to.

That’s this week’s WORLD History Book. I’m Emma Perley.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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