netanyahu flag 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke strongly about Israel's position on the peace process Wednesday, during a Knesset session commemorating the anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Quoting a 1995 speech made by the slain prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Netanyahu said, "Building communities in Judea and Samaria is not inconsistent with the pursuit of a peace agreement."
'Role of Israel's leadership is to preserve our
Mourning Yitzhak Rabin - legacy in constant
Speaking for himself, he added,"We don't want to take away the Palestinians' right to self-determination." He continued, "However, we left Lebanon and now Iran approaches the [border] fence. We left Gaza and now Iran approaches the [border] fence. Now we face a third time. We will not allow Iran to approach the border again."
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) spoke immediately following the prime minister to express her support for a two state solution between Israel and the Palestinians and said that the time is now to decide the borders for the two states.
"I know you [Netanyahu] know what needs to be done, and I pray that you will do the right thing."
"We need to do the right thing for the generation that was not around when Rabin was assassinated. Now is the time to decide," Livni said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke at length after Livni to commemorate the memory of his slain fellow Labor leader, calling him a man of war and peace.
"Rabin was a man of war and violence, as well as a man of hope and peace. There is no conflict between the two," said Barak.
The current Labor Party leader also sought to claim the mantle of the fallen former Labor prime minister. "I stand here in front of the house as one of those who continues on the path of Rabin," Barak said.
"Peace is made, not just spoken as words or as a prayer," Barak stated. "Two people, two states is the one true path of Zionism today. There is no contradiction between the state's security and a Jewish, democratic state."
Barak emphasized that he wished to ensure Israel remained a "Zionist, Jewish and (most of all) democratic state and that Jews around the world will be proud to belong to her."
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) opened the Knesset gathering,
comparing the Israeli people's experience of the assassination of Rabin
as similar to the trama felt by the North in the US after the murder of
After Rabin's assassination,
said Rivlin, it is clear to all in Israel that "political arguments
should not be solved by violence but only through the democratic
Earlier in the day, many of leading state dignitaries attended the official state memorial ceremony for Rabin held at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.