Rabin aide: Current mood is cultivating political violence

As Israel marks 16th anniversary of assassination of former PM, Haber discusses recent "price tag" attacks, "Rabin is waiting for you" graffiti.

By
November 10, 2011 02:26
3 minute read.
Rabin memorial ceremony, Har Herzl

Rabin ceremony 311. (photo credit: GPO)

 
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The climate in Israel is ripe for acts of political violence, a former top aide of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

Eitan Haber, Rabin’s media adviser and bureau chief at the time of his assassination 16 years ago, said that “if these thugs continue doing the things they’re doing and no one takes them seriously and puts them in prison, we could absolutely see more violence happen.”

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Haber’s words came as Israel marked the 16th annual Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day, held to commemorate the anniversary of the late prime minister’s assassination at the hands of Yigal Amir following a pro-peace rally in Tel Aviv on November 4, 1995.

Haber was asked in particular about recent “price tag” attacks, including an incident on Tuesday in which unidentified persons wrote, “Rabin is waiting for you” in the stairwell of the Jerusalem building where Peace Now official Hagit Ofran lives.

Haber was a long-time friend of Rabin and gained prominence as a journalist and author. He is perhaps best-known for issuing the official government announcement of Rabin’s death.

In an iconic video clip, Haber can be seen surrounded by reporters and bystanders reading the words “The government of Israel announces in dismay and great sadness and sorrow the death of prime minister and minister of defense Yitzhak Rabin, who was murdered by an assassin tonight in Tel Aviv.”

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According to Haber, the leadership of Israel has strayed a long way from the vision of Rabin.

“I see the leadership of the country and I see Bibi [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu] as being very far from the principles of Rabin and the twostate solution,” he said.

Haber did offer praise for Netanyahu’s predecessors, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, saying Sharon “was willing to withdraw from Gush Katif and evacuate all of the settlements there [in 2005] without batting an eye at the settlers,” and that Olmert “supported the principles of Rabin in talks with Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas].”

He said the Israeli public still supports the vision Rabin was pursuing at the time of his death and that only a small, vocal minority hold an opposing view.

“The way I see it, the path that Rabin started about 20 years ago is supported by almost everyone except for some people in the settlements who believe that God is with them.”

He also said that if Rabin’s life had not been cut short, Israel’s relations with its neighbors could very well look entirely different.

“I refuse to guess what would have happened, but I like to believe that if he were alive today, we would have long ago made peace with Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians.”

Rabin’s long-time friend and colleague added that for him, the annual Yitzhak Rabin memorial day has no special purpose.

“I don’t need a memorial day, because every day of the year is a memorial day for me. Every day I wake up or read the paper I think what if he was here, what would he do in this situation or another. I don’t need a day to set aside for this each year.”

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