“Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.” - Tolstoy
Israel’s current President - Shimon Peres - and Prime Minister - Ehud Olmert - have used the 13th anniversary of the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister - Yitzchak Rabin - to misrepresent the pursuit of their own failed and discredited political agendas as being somehow aligned with - and a continuation of - Mr Rabin’s vision.
Nothing could be further from the truth and needs to be vigorously rejected.
Speaking at the memorial service for Mr Rabin held this week- Mr Olmert told those gathered there:
” The bullets that killed Rabin could not stop the historic path that he led. Even after his death, Rabin will be victorious.”
President Peres was as equally effusive declaring:
“The bullets that were fired into Yitzhak’s back didn’t kill his way, because ideas and visions cannot be killed.”
Mr Rabin’s historic path and his ideas and visions are set out in the speech he delivered to the Knesset on October 5, 1995 - just days before his assassination - when presenting the 300 page “Israeli - Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip”.
That speech identified the following signposts that Mr Rabin’s historic path and vision sought to take :
1. First and foremost the State of Israel would be a Jewish State, at least 80% of whose citizens would be Jews
2. The State of Israel would include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which would be home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank
3. The Palestinian entity would be less than a State and would independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority.
4. The borders of the State of Israel would be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. Israel would not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.
5. The main changes Mr Rabin envisaged as a result were:
(a) Jerusalem would be united and would include both Maale Adumim and Givat Zeev as the capital of Israel under Israeli sovereignty
(b) The security border of Israel would be located in the Jordan Valley in the broadest meaning of that term
(c) Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar and other communities in the area east of what was the “Green Line” prior to the Six Day War would be included in the State of Israel
(d) Blocs of settlements would be established in Judea and Samaria like the one in Gush Katif
(e) No single settlement would be uprooted in the framework of the Interim Agreement nor building hindered for natural growth
(f) The responsibility for the external security along the borders with Egypt and Jordan, as well as control over the airspace above all of the territories and the Gaza Strip maritime zone would remain in Israeli hands
(g) Murderers of Jews or those who had been wounded seriously would not be released
Mr Olmert and President Peres have totally rejected Mr Rabin’s Roadmap in favour of President Bush’s Roadmap which calls for a 22nd independent Arab State to be created between Israel and Jordan.
Releasing murderers of Jews and granting them pardons have now become accepted policies under Mr Olmert and President Peres.
Division of Jerusalem is now part of Mr Olmert’s vision. He struggles to retain places like Maale Adumin, Efrat and Beitar within the new borders of the State of Israel as the Palestinian Authority demand Israel returns to the 4 June 1967 lines and forcibly remove 500000 Jews now living beyond it. He seeks to do so by swapping parts of the State of Israel with the pieces of Judea and Samaria he wishes to retain.
Gush Khatif and other settlements in Gaza no longer exist because of Mr Olmert’s idea to abandon Gaza and expel the 8000 Jews who lived there.
Israel no longer controls the border with Egypt and allows flagrant breaches of the Gaza Strip maritime zone for fear of creating a public relations backlash.
Israel’s President and its Prime Minister need to stop engaging in telling fairy stories by suggesting that Mr Rabin has become victorious in death. They need to truthfully acknowledge that his ideas and vision are not alive nor continue today as they both pursue a path that is fraught with much greater danger for the continued existence of Israel than Mr Rabin’s proposals ever contemplated.
It was not bullets that killed Mr Rabin’s historic path, ideas and vision.
It was the abandonment of his policies by those who succeeded him in the corridors of power that has been the real cause.