PM evokes Begin's Altalena stance against civil war

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June 10, 2012 18:49

With his mind clearly on the dangers of a violent confrontation with settlers over the looming evacuation of the Ulpana outpost, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke at the annual Altalena memorial on Sunday about two principles firmly enshrined by Menachem Begin: no civil war under any circumstance and the rule of law.

The principle Begin set of no civil war was applicable at the dawn of the country's independence, and is applicable today, Netanyahu said at ceremony held at Tel Aviv's Nahalt Yitzhak cemetery.

Sixteen Irgun fighters and three IDF soldiers were killed when David Ben-Gurion gave orders to fire on the Altalena arms ship 64 years ago, in what has since widely been viewed as a watershed moment in placing all the country's arms under one authority. Begin, then commander of the Irgun, ordered his men not to retaliate in order to prevent a civil war.

"We have one state, one government, one law," Netanyahu said. "In Israel the government and only the government determines policy, and in Israel the law obligates everyone, including the government, including the prime minister."

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