Former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin opposed creating a Palestinian state,
relinquishing the Jordan Valley, dividing Jerusalem, evacuating settlements and
freezing natural growth in Judea and Samaria, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
said in a speech Wednesday at a Knesset ceremony marking the fifteenth
anniversary of Rabin’s assassination.
Netanyahu’s associates said the
speech was aimed at Labor Party ministers who have criticized him for not going
far enough to advance negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and who have
threatened to leave the government.RELATED:
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The prime minister quoted extensively
from the last speech Rabin delivered at the Knesset in October 1995, a month
before he was gunned down.
“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,” said Rabin, as quoted by Netanyahu. “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. The security border of the State of Israel will be located in
the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.
be united as the capital of Israel under Israeli sovereignty and will include
both Ma’ale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev,” Netanyahu said Rabin had added. “We came to
an agreement, and committed ourselves before the Knesset, not to uproot a single
settlement in the framework of the interim agreement, and not to hinder building
for natural growth.”
Speaking for himself now, Netanyahu noted that,
unlike Rabin, who refused to freeze settlement construction, he had instituted
an unprecedented temporary moratorium. He said Rabin’s words were an additional
confirmation of this observation.
“Construction in existing communities
in Judea and Samaria does not contradict the aspiration for peace and an
agreement,” he said.
Netanyahu also pointed out that while Rabin spoke of
“less than a state” for the Palestinians, he was advocating “a demilitarized
state” as long as it recognized the state of the Jewish people.
Speaker Reuven Rivlin also focused his speech on what he said were Rabin’s
hawkish views relative to the opinions of the Left today. He too quoted from
Rabin’s speeches to emphasize the former prime minister’s opposition to dividing
Jerusalem and recalled that Rabin had commanded the forces which liberated the
“We have to remember the abandoned legacy of Rabin that has been
forgotten,” Rivlin said.
“This is the importance of keeping Jerusalem as
the united capital of Israel.”
Quoting from Rabin’s first Knesset speech
after returning to the Prime Minister’s Office in 1992, Rivlin said: “Jerusalem
is the object of longing of the entire Jewish people. We have disputes between
Right and Left.
But we have no dispute over the need for Jerusalem to
remain the united eternal capital of the Jewish people.”
On the other
side of the political map, opposition leader Tzipi Livni and Labor chairman Ehud
Barak expressed more traditional views about Rabin as a
“Rabin was murdered because he understood what was necessary
for his people long before the people knew,” Livni said.
Barak added that
“Peace is something that must be made, not just talked about or prayed
The Rabin memorial ceremony at the Knesset was boycotted by
National Union MK Michael Ben- Ari on the Right and the three Arab MKs from
Earlier Wednesday, in a speech at Rabin’s grave site on Mount
Herzl, Netanyahu suggested that despite the ongoing divide over Rabin’s legacy,
Israelis were more united now than they were at the time of the
“The major change that has occurred for the better
occurred within our ranks, within the people of Israel,” Netanyahu
“Today, we are no longer divided into two opposing camps, each of
which was convinced that it was entirely right and just, and were it not for
them, the country would be destroyed and disaster would be brought upon
“There is a good deal less shouting and animosity,” he added. “We
listen to each other more; our positions have grown closer together; the gaps
have narrowed. One part of the country recognized that it is impossible to exist
for long without a political arrangement and without compromise. And the other
part today understands that it is not alone in seeking peace; it has learned
that Israel does not stand on the verge of an apocalyptic vision; that not
everything is in our hands.”