Rivlin at Knesset's Rabin memorial: Oslo is dead

Netanyahu: All territory we left went to Iran; Barak: Bi-national state would kill Zionist enterprise.

Likud MK Reuven Rivlin (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Likud MK Reuven Rivlin
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
The Knesset session in memory of Yitzhak Rabin Sunday brought up a debate reminiscent of the former prime minister’s day.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin proclaimed the two-state solution dead and Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz, Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich and Defense Minister Ehud Barak touted its merits.
“Today, almost 20 years after Oslo, we can see clearly that the idea of separating the [Israeli and Palestinian] nations failed,” Rivlin said. “Neither nation was convinced of it, and no long-term diplomatic solution was reached.”
According to the Knesset speaker, those who still believe in two states for two nations are in denial about current realities. He added that there can be only one state between Jordan and the Mediterranean, which will be Jewish, democratic and have a Jewish majority.
“Since my childhood, in 1948, we have been able to deal with the demographic threat, but in the ridiculous attempts to split the land we have failed time and again,” he said.
Rivlin pointed to coexistence between Jews and Arabs on both sides of the Green Line, such as in the University of Haifa, the Hebrew University and the Ariel University Center.
The Knesset speaker concluded his speech by saying he appreciates Rabin as a visionary who worked to ensure Israel’s continued existence, and the former prime minister will be remembered as a “leader, a dreamer and a fighter for the freedom of Israel.”
All of the speakers following Rivlin denounced his speech, except for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who did not overtly express his opinion on the matter, saying that he and Rabin disagreed on many issues, but “even if our political rivals do not agree with us, it does not mean they care less about the country.”
However, he mentioned that while Israel “does not want to rule [the Palestinians] and we do not want them to rule us, in the past 17 years [since the Oslo Accords], any territories we left were captured by Iran’s messengers.”
Barak took a jab at Rivlin in his speech, saying: “I’m speaking bluntly now, but I would hope that at this memorial ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin would not be a victim of the approaching election or the primary of a big party – as big and important as it may be.”
The defense minister said Rabin’s legacy says only two states will ensure the continuation of the Zionist enterprise.
“I am convinced that Ruby [Reuven] Rivlin, our Knesset speaker, believes in democracy, and I suggest he ask himself what will happen when millions of citizens in Nablus, Jenin and Jericho vote for this house, or what name the State of Israel will get if it turns out that millions of those people cannot vote for the Knesset,” Barak said, adding that Netanyahu spoke in favor of a two-state solution in his Bar-Ilan University speech in June 2009, in the Knesset and in the US.
Yacimovich addressed Rivlin directly when she took the stand, saying she changed her speech after hearing his “extremist performance that sent us into a regression.”
“The Israeli public doesn’t want the vision you presented. They aren’t interested in it. There is almost no person in Israel who wants to live in a binational state. Who is willing to give up the Zionist vision?” she asked.
According to Yacimovich, those who have given up on the two-state solution are extremists on the Left and Right and are a danger to Zionism.
The Labor leader also called it regressive to focus on the issue of borders, because Israelis are interested in what happens within the country.
She commended Rabin for passing a capital gains tax as prime minister, as well as his efforts to “fairly distribute resources” and increase equality.
Mofaz said that without a diplomatic process leading to two states for two nations, the “dream of a Jewish, Zionist state in the Land of Israel will come to an end.”
The Kadima chairman pointed to “price-tag” vandalism as anti-democratic activity reminiscent of the incitement against the government in Rabin’s day.
Mofaz accused “the heads of the party we learned about a few days ago,” meaning the united Likud- Yisrael Beytenu list, of encouraging such behavior, adding that it was “born of weakness and fear.”