Politicians talk tough on terrorism at memorial for slain minister Rehavam Ze'evi

Knesset remembers assassinated National Union minister with speeches honoring his commitment to Jewish sovereignty.

Rehavam Zeevi 370 (photo credit: reuters)
Rehavam Zeevi 370
(photo credit: reuters)
Palestinian terror cannot be allowed to rear its head, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said at a memorial Knesset meeting Wednesday honoring assassinated tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi.
“In recent weeks, with the start of negotiations with the Palestinians, attacks on Jews in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley increased. This is a serious phenomenon that must be stopped,” Edelstein said.
The Knesset speaker warned that “we cannot wait for a minister or citizen to be attacked again.”
Palestinian gunmen shot Ze’evi on October 17, 2001, in front of the Hyatt Hotel on Mount Scopus, and he died soon after. The assassination took place two days after he resigned from his post as tourism minister because then-prime minister Ariel Sharon’s first government had withdrawn from part of Hebron.
“Ze’evi was murdered because he was a minister in the Israeli government and an uncompromising symbol of Jewish sovereignty,” Edelstein said. “His message was clear: We, the Jewish People, have no other land.”
Edelstein also emphasized Ze’evi’s support for the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard from prison in the US.
“Ze’evi said we don’t leave behind any captive soldiers, and Pollard was a soldier of the State of Israel,” the speaker said.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Ze’evi’s ideas had been ahead of their time and that many agreed with them today.
“Together with constant readiness, we do not stop reaching our hand out to peace and hoping for a change in our neighbors, a change that will lead them to understand that our forces cannot be broken, nor can our faith that our path is just,” Ya’alon said. “Until that day, we will continue to stand confidently, remembering where we came from and what we’re fighting for.”
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman (Likud Beytenu), who was in the National Union with Ze’evi, spoke of the great loss he felt in losing a friend and a political partner.
“Ze’evi was not only a great [military] commander.
He knew how to learn lessons and see what was coming,” Liberman recounted.
The Yisrael Beytenu leader quoted Ze’evi as saying Israel must keep the West Bank and not show weakness, and that calling the left the “peace camp” was a lie, because the right wanted peace, as well.
“There are no magic solutions,” Liberman said. “The only way to reach peace with the Palestinians is to build peace from the bottom up and not force it from above.... Negotiations must be based on a long-term interim agreement that will ensure, first of all, security for Israel, and economic welfare for the Palestinians, and only after that can we have a full, lasting peace treaty. We want real peace, not pretend peace!” Real peace, he continued, requires a real partner, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is not one, because the PA openly continues incitement against Israel.
“The Palestinians don’t want an agreement with Israel. They just want to blame Israel for the failure of talks,” Liberman said.