Israelis mark Rabin anniversary

Israelis have been attending memorial ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

    Rabin was fatally shot during a rally in Tel Aviv in 1995

    The Nobel Peace laureate was shot dead by Jewish extremist Yigal Amir during a Tel Aviv rally on 4 November 1995.

    Amir, who is serving a life sentence, was opposed to Rabin's policy of ceding land to the Palestinians as part of the Oslo peace process.

    Friday's 10-year anniversary intensified debate about the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israeli state.

    Speaking during a ceremony at Rabin's grave in Jerusalem attended by friends, relatives and Labour Party officials, the former prime minister's sister, Rachel Ya'akov, said she believed Israeli society was worse off than it was before his killing.

    "We didn't learn any lessons," she told the Israeli daily Haaretz.

    Among those also attending the ceremony was Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

    "What he started will never be forgotten and we shall continue to act in the same way until we shall achieve the most noble goal of our life, and that is peace among ourselves and our neighbours," Peres said.

    Memorial ceremony

    In Tel Aviv meanwhile hundreds gathered in Rabin Square at the memorial erected where Rabin was shot.


    Hundreds gathered at Rabin's
    memorial in Tel Aviv

    On 14 November a state memorial will be held on Mount Herzl and the new Yitzhak Rabin Centre inaugurated in a cermony to be attended by dignitaries from across the world, including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

    Two days earlier, a rally will be held in Rabin Square, where former US president Bill Clinton, who worked closely with the slain premier on the peace process, is expected to address the crowd.

    No pardon

    Israeli President Moshe Katsav has vowed never to pardon Rabin's convicted assassin, who has never expressed public regret for the murder.

    "Yigal Amir is a villain who deserves no grace, no pardon," he said. "I have no intention of granting him a pardon or reducing his sentence."

    Rabin shared the Nobel peace prize in 1994 with Peres, then foreign minister, and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

    The award was given in recognition of their work towards the signing of the Oslo accords, which paved the way to the creation of the Palestinian Authority.

    Rabin believed Israel should give up Gaza and large parts of the West Bank in exchange for real peace.

    Derailing peace

    "There is a group of hundreds of thousands, not all of whom are murderers, but all of whom believe that the murder of Yitzhak Rabin achieved its aim, when it halted the Oslo plan"

    Carmi Gillon,
    Former Israeli security services chief

    Many in Israel believe that Amir succeeded in his attempt to derail any peace process with the Palestinians. 

    Former security services chief Carmi Gillon, who was in charge of Rabin's security in 1995, said Amir "knows that he has won".

    "There is a group of hundreds of thousands, not all of whom are murderers, but all of whom believe that the murder of Yitzhak Rabin achieved its aim, when it halted the Oslo plan."

    Conspiracy theories surrounding the circumstances of Rabin's death continue to circulate.

    Israeli newspapers on the ultra-right wing or ultra-orthodox launched into avid talk of conspiracy theories chipping apart the theory that Amir, caught red-handed, acted alone.

    On Thursday, Israel's privately owned Channel 2 television network charged that a third bullet hole was found in Rabin's shirt on the night he was murdered, despite an official investigation ruling he was killed by two bullets.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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