A short time before his assassination
at a peace rally in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
discussed some of the key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict in an exclusive interview, part of which is now
broadcast for the first time. It was one of Rabinís last
in-depth interviews before he was shot dead by Yigal Amir
on November 4th 1995. Amir, who was sentenced to life in
prison, is now seeking a retrial. What is startling about
the interview is the many similarities with the current
situation, ten years later; simply substitute the name of
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for Yasser Arafat.
This was the scene at the time of Rabinís assassination
back in November 1995: THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY WAS THEN
TRYING TO REACH AN AGREEMENT WITH HAMAS ON HALTING THE TERRORISM.
Scores of Israelis had been killed and wounded by suicide
bombers (including in Hadera where five Israeli civilians
were murdered last week) and Rabin had lost some of his
supporters in the Knesset. The night before the interview,
some anti-Oslo protestors had waved effigies of Rabin in
a Nazi uniform in Jerusalemís Zion Square.
The interview begins with a question about Prime Minister
Rabinís agreement to a PA request to allow four or five
Hamas fugitives to leave for abroad in order to promote
a cease-fire deal.
ĎI believe that in the long
run, separation between Israel and the Palestinians is the best
solution for resolving the Israeli Palestinian conflictí. That
was the position of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin who was
assassinated by right-wing fanatic Yigal Amir at a peace rally
in Tel Aviv on the night of November 4th 2005. Rabin saw the solution
of Israel as a Jewish state separated form a Palestinian entity
in which most Palestinians would live on the West Bank and in
the Gaza Strip. This, in Rabinís view, was the only real solution
to the conflict in the long run.
In a stunning similarity with todayís situation, Rabin talked
of how Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority were trying
to reach an agreement with Hamas to prevent terrorism from areas
under the PAís control. As a means to this end, Arafat had requested
and Rabin approved the sending of five Hamas fugitives abroad.
When Rabin was asked if he was in fact sending a conciliatory
message to Hamas he retorted: ĎBy no means, I have got one address
on the Palestinian side, Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.
They are the partners for the whole peace process and they bear
responsibility for whatever happens in the areas under their controlí.
On this score, Arafat was not doing enough top halt the terrorism.
The later Prime Minister then said Hamas, Islamic Jihad other
organizations were carrying out the attacks not the PLO. One hundred
and nineteen Israelis had been murdered since January 1994 until
shortly before Rabin was assassinated on November4th, 2005. Rabin
said 77 of these fatalities, some 70%, were killed by suicide
bombers who also came from territory under IDF control. Therefore,
he concluded that separation was the best solution to prevent
When asked about his ability to set policy in light of his dwindling
support in the Knesset, Rabin declared: ĎIíll continue to carry
out whatever we are committed to. Whatever we believe leads us
to a permanent solution the way we want it, THE WAY I WANT ITí.
The night before the interview, some protestors at a big anti-Rabin
rally in Jerusalemís Zion Square, had waved effigies of Rabin
decked out in a Nazi uniform. When asked to comment the Prime
Minister replied: ĎI donít believe I have even to relate to such
a criminal mind and actí.
The words of Yitzhak Rabin a short time before he was assassinated
on November 4th 1995.
David Essing, ISRACAST,