Monday, November 07, 2005

Remembering Rabin

As the ten year Yartzeit of the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin approaches, there is much debate about how to commemorate this shaping event in Israel’s history. The left seeks to commemorate the assassination with a homage to the Oslo peace process, arguing for further territorial concessions in exchange for peace. The centre/religious Zionist camp want to commemorate the event by emphasizing “ahavat Yisrael” and Jewish unity, beyond politics. Some on the right would prefer not to commemorate the assassination at all.(Numbered people are 1-Yitzchak Rabin, 2- Yigal Amir, 3-Student Mordi Israel, 4-Driver Menachem Damti, 5-Agent S.N. (Possibly S.G.), 6-Bodyguard Yoram Rubin)

These were the of Rabin’s final speech delivered on November 4th, 1995:

"Permit me to say that I am deeply moved. I wish to thank each and every one of you, who have come here today to take a stand against violence and for peace. This government, which I am privileged to head, together with my friend Shimon Peres, decided to give peace a chance -- a peace that will solve most of Israel's problems.

There are enemies of peace who are trying to hurt us, in order to torpedo the peace process. I want to say bluntly, that we have found a partner for peace among the Palestinians as well: the PLO, which was an enemy, and has ceased to engage in terrorism. Without partners for peace, there can be no peace. We will demand that they do their part for peace, just as we will do our part for peace, in order to solve the most complicated, prolonged, and emotionally charged aspect of the Israeli-Arab conflict: the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

This is a course which is fraught with difficulties and pain. For Israel, there is no path that is without pain. But the path of peace is preferable to the path of war. I say this to you as one who was a military man, someone who is today Minister of Defense and sees the pain of the families of the IDF soldiers. For them, for our children, in my case for our grandchildren, I want this Government to exhaust every opening, every possibility, to promote and achieve a comprehensive peace. Even with Syria, is will be possible to make peace.
This rally must send a message to the Israeli people, to the Jewish people around the world, to the many people in the Arab world, and indeed to the entire world, that the Israeli people want peace, support peace. For this, I thank you."

10 years on, many Israelis argue that Rabin was wrong in saying “we have found a partner for peace among the Palestinians.” The leadership of both Arafat and Abbas has shown this to be false. Neither have maintained a cessation of violence against Isreali civilians. Many Israelis also argue that Rabin was right in saying “there is no path that is without pain. But the path of peace is preferable to the path of war.” That is why the majority (along with this blogger) supported the disengage , albeit with a heavy heart and much sadness.

What do you make of Rabin's political legacy, and how do you think we should remember his life?


Ittay said...

Amira Hass offerers a confronting tale of how Palestinians remember Rabin:
“For Palestinians, Yitzhak Rabin is remembered first of all as someone who instructed soldiers to break their arms and legs, when they began their popular uprising against the Israeli occupation in 1987.
Before the handshake on the White House lawn, before the Nobel Prize and before the murder, when Palestinians were asked about Rabin, this is what they remember: One thinks of his hands, scarred by soldiers' beatings; another remembers a friend who flitted between life and death in the hospital for 12 days, after he was beaten by soldiers who caught him drawing a slogan on a wall during a curfew. Yet another remembers the Al-Am?ari refugee camp; during the first intifada, all its young men were hopping on crutches or were in casts because they had thrown stones at soldiers, who in turn chased after them and carried out Rabin's order.”
You can read the full article at:

Anonymous said...

Me thinks Hass underplays this a bit, but this does not surprise us coming from her does it?

Some people curse Rabin for bringing "the group from Tunis here," he says, referring to Arafat and other PLO leaders who had been exiled there.

Ittay said...

Nadav Shragai has written in Haaretz today that it is the Left that keeps right wing Israelis from mourning Rabin.

“A decade later, the anniversary of Rabin's murder remains the inheritance of half of the nation. The other half, which has found it very difficult to identify with the content of this memorial day and remains cloistered at home, now feels real alienation from it. The people who during the initial years tried to get through the day's events as if possessed by a ghost, with a minimum of involvement or identification, have felt repugnance and loathing for this day and its content during recent years, after the left turned it into a type of ritual and tool in its battle to fashion Israeliness in its own image.

This ritual has four components: attributing responsibility for the murder to the entire national-religious community; the heritage of Rabin, who was a centrist, being unjustly portrayed as the heritage of Beilin and the extreme left; "Oslo," which equipped our bitterest enemies with weapons and territory, and sowed terrorism, bereavement and blood, being depicted on this day as the hope of all the generations; and the fourth component constitutes a direct continuation of the mobilization of the governmental system during the disengagement period, including the judicial system, on behalf of one side in the political dispute that divides us today. Freedom of expression and dissent when it comes to Rabin, his legacy, his image and actions, has become practically impossible.”