[Published 28 October 2015]
Former Israeli President Shimon Peres has pre-empted the memorial rally this Saturday evening to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the assassination on 4 November 1995 of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin - by writing – quite misleadingly - of Rabin’s vision in the Jerusalem Post this week.
Former US president Bill Clinton, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin and Yitzchak Rabin’s daughter - former deputy defence minister Dalia Rabin - are scheduled to participate in the rally – and hopefully will set the record straight.
Peres claimed that Rabin’s Government – in which Peres was Foreign Minister
“sought peace at the price of a historic compromise: two states for two peoples. For, if there shall not be two countries, there shall be one continues [sic] tragedy for both peoples.”
Rabin never offered any such two-state compromise.
Peres repeated this disingenuous message again in the same article:
“We laid down the foundations for a two-state solution and began building our peace with Jordan.”
Rabin made his vision very clear in his last speech to the Knesset on 5 October 1995 when presenting the 300 page “Israeli - Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip” (Oslo Accords) for approval:
“Members of Knesset,
We are striving for a permanent solution to the unending bloody conflict between us and the Palestinians and the Arab states.
In the framework of the permanent solution, we aspire to reach, first and foremost, the State of Israel as a Jewish state, at least 80% of whose citizens will be, and are, Jews.
At the same time, we also promise that the non-Jewish citizens of Israel — Muslim, Christian, Druze and others — will enjoy full personal, religious and civil rights, like those of any Israeli citizen. Judaism and racism are diametrically opposed.
We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will 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 will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority. The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.
And these are the main changes, not all of them, which we envision and want in the permanent solution:
A. First and foremost, united Jerusalem, which will include both Ma’ale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev — as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty, while preserving the rights of the members of the other faiths, Christianity and Islam, to freedom of access and freedom of worship in their holy places, according to the customs of their faiths.
B. The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.
C. Changes which will include the addition of Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar and other communities, most of which are in the area east of what was the “Green Line,” prior to the Six Day War.
D. The establishment of blocs of settlements in Judea and Samaria, like the one in Gush Katif.”
The two-state solution was never entertained by Rabin.
Two separate countries - favoured by Peres - is irretrievably dead and buried. Rabin’s legacy should not be coupled with that failed diplomatic initiative.
Rabin’s vision should be faithfully preserved – not trashed.