Former president Bubba Clinton gave a speech in Tel Aviv Saturday night in a ceremony to remember Yitzhak Rabin on the the 20th anniversary of his assassination. He took the opportunity to praise Rabin, and take some not so subtle slams at the present Israeli government. But the truth is he presented Rabin as a blind peacemaker, not the man he really was:
Clinton said that Rabin had been steadfast in pursuing peace and that his mantra when a terrorist attack was staged was, “We will fight terrorism as if there are no negotiations, and negotiate as if there is no terrorism.”
Clinton asked the crowd, “What does this all amount to? That is up to you. You, when you leave here, must decide how to continue his legacy. In the end, the decisions is yours.
“The next step in the magnificent journey of Israel, a titan of technology, a volcano of energy, a beacon of democracy in a region with too little, the next step is deciding that Rabin was right, that you must share the future with Palestinian children, and to give peace a chance.
Obviously the former President forget one of his cardinal rules, it takes two to tango. The other thing he’s forgotten was the real Yitzhak Rabin was thinking of tossing out the Oslo deal when he was assassinated two decades ago.
Nine days before he was assassinated, Rabin delivered a speech to the Knesset that laid out his vision for the future of Israel and the disputed territories, including:
- No Palestinian State: “We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority.”
- No return to ’67 borders: “The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.“
- Control of Jordan Valley: “The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.”
- Gush Katif as model: “The establishment of blocs of settlements in Judea and Samaria, like the one in Gush Katif.”
- All settlements remain intact during interim period: “I want to remind you: we committed ourselves, that is, we came to an agreement, and committed ourselves before the Knesset, not to uproot a single settlement in the framework of the interim agreement, and not to hinder building for natural growth.”
- United Jerusalem, which will include both Ma’ale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev — as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty, while preserving the rights of the members of the other faiths, Christianity and Islam, to freedom of access and freedom of worship in their holy places, according to the customs of their faiths.
- (During interim period) “The responsibility for external security along the borders with Egypt and Jordan, as well as control over the airspace above all of the territories and Gaza Strip maritime zone, remains in our hands.
(The entire speech can be found here)
None of this is meant to denigrate the memory of the Israeli PM who was slaughtered 20 years ago, its more to show the true nature of the media and world leaders like Clinton who have slanted Rabin’s legacy to tell the story they want to tell. They have taken upon themselves to recreate Rabin into something he was not. For many years, Rabin’s legacy was defined by the dreams of the peace process that he was engaged in with the Palestinians at the time of his murder. Whether this was what he would have wanted has been debated by his relatives and confidants, some of whom were aware of his growing doubts about the intentions of Yasser Arafat, who was already sabotaging the diplomatic process by ordering terrorist attacks before, during, and after the time of Rabin’s assassination.
Bill Clinton surely would have known that at the time of his death Rabin was ready to bail on the Oslo process, but didn’t mention that Saturday in Tel Aviv.
Five years ago Rabin’s daughter Dalia wrote in an Israeli magazine :
“Many people who were close to father told me that on the eve of the murder he considered stopping the Oslo process because of the terror that was running rampant in the streets and that Arafat wasn’t delivering the goods.
Father after all wasn’t a blind man running forward without thought. I don’t rule out the possibility that he considered also doing a reverse on our side.
After all he was someone for whom the security of the state was sacrosanct.”
Rabin was not the blind peace-maker like some of the Prime Ministers who followed him such as Peres, Barak. and Olmert. The Oslo process Rabin began came to be roundly criticized as it lead to a deadly violence including the second intifada, while at the same time consolidating the power of the terrorist Arafat. But who can honestly know what would have happened if a crazy zealot didn’t strike him down 20 years ago. Oslo might have been over long before the intifada and Arafat might have been sent back to his hiding place in Tripoli.
One thing is for sure, the same liberals who created the revered image of Yitzhak Rabin vilify Benyamin Netanyahu even though in some ways Bibi’s positions today are more moderate than the great peace maker Rabin.