Yitzchak Rabin’s legacy – not what you think

Yizchak Rabin

Yitzchak Rabin’s yahrzeit (memorial day), the anniversary of his assassination, falls somewhere between mid-October and beginning of November, depending on the Hebrew calendar. This year it fell last week, on the 12th Cheshvan, 16th October.  Since it closely coincides with the anniversary of the Oslo Accords, the media are always full of articles about Rabin’s legacy or Rabin’s heritage. The general tone of these articles is usually that Rabin risked his life for peace, that he was planning a Two State Solution with the Palestinians, that he was going to dismantle and otherwise destroy the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria, and was ready to hand over vast swathes of Israel to the Palestinians.

In actual fact nothing could be further from the truth.

Elder of Ziyon brings us a prime example, if a rather extreme one, of such wishful thinking from the vicious pen of Karl Vick in Time Magazine:

Karl Vick in Time does what he always does:

Two decades ago, the word Oslo evoked everything the Middle East normally refuses to provide: hope, trust and compromise. Israelis and Palestinians, two peoples claiming the same biblical lands, had rarely talked peace with each other before in a serious way. Then, in the space of four months, their leaders secretly agreed upon a set of plans — the Oslo accords — that promised an end, once and for all, to the violent conflict between them. The diplomatic achievement was sealed on the White House lawn on Sept. 13, 1993, with a signing ceremony and a handshake between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.


The momentum ended on Nov. 4, 1995, when a radical right-wing Jewish settler shot Rabin dead at a peace rally in Tel Aviv. In that moment, many historians have argued, the Oslo accords suffered a fatal blow. Without Rabin to reassure a nervous Israel that Oslo was a genuine path to peace, extremists quickly began to drive events on both sides.

Were things wonderful and peaceful and hopeful between July 1994 and November 1995?

During that time there were dozens of drive-by shootings of Jews on the roads, as well as stabbings. On August 26, 1994 – Shlomo Kapach, age 22, and Gil Revah, age 21, were killed at a Ramle building site, and the PA protected their killers.

On October 19, 1994, a Hamas bomb killed 22 people on a bus in Tel Aviv.

On January 22, 1995, a double suicide bombing at the Beit Lid junction near Netanya killed 21 others.

The Elder’s goes on to explain Rabin’s true intentions when signing the Oslo Accords:

Beyond that, Vick is clearly unaware that Rabin never advocated a Palestinian Arab state. He never advocated dividing Jerusalem. His last speech in Knesset before his assassination described his red lines:

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. 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.

…First and foremost, 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.

The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term…

These ringing words seem to have been forgotten in the rush to a delusional peace with murderous terrorists who pose as “peace partners” to fool the world.

Read the rest of EoZ’s post and enjoy how he eviscerates Vick’s nasty and untruthful article.

Two items in this weekend’s Jerusalem Post similarly clearly enlighten us as to Rabin’s true heritage, and explain how the legend of his legacy has been hijacked.

David Weinberg tells us that Rabin was close to stopping the Oslo process:

Like the majority of Israelis, then and now, Rabin was willing to take risks and give the peace process a chance. But he remained suspicious of his Palestinian partners, skeptical about the outcome, wary of a full-fledged Palestinian state, and insistent on maintaining defensible borders for Israel.

In fact, Rabin may have been close to calling-off the Oslo process, according his daughter Dalia. Three years ago, she told Yediot Aharonot (October 1, 2010) that “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 because he felt that Yasser Arafat was not delivering on his promises.”

“Father after all wasn’t a blind man running forward without thought. I don’t rule out the possibility that he was considering a U-turn, doing a reverse on our side. After all he was someone for whom the national security of the state was sacrosanct and above all,” former deputy defense minister Dalia Rabin said.

In his book The Long Short Way (Yediot Aharonot Press, Hebrew, 2008), current Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon wrote that a few weeks before the assassination, Rabin told Ya’alon (who was then chief of IDF Military Intelligence) that after the next election, “he [Rabin] was going to ‘set things straight’ with the Oslo process, because Arafat could no longer be trusted.”

And this was before the murderous second intifada!


Rabin’s disappointment with the policy, which was not initiated by him but for which he was ultimately responsible, became more and more evident with the passage of time and reflected the public’s wary mood toward the peace process… He did not exclude the possibility that the Oslo agreements might not lead to reconciliation. He was not sure that an agreement on final status issues with the Palestinians could be reached… Yet he was caught in the dynamics of a process no longer fully under his control….


Inbar recalls that Rabin once said that a Palestinian state would be a “cancer” in the Middle East, and that Rabin often expressed his preference for Jordan as the more responsible partner for securing Israel’s eastern border in the long term.

In his famous last speech in the Knesset (on October 5, 1995), a month before his assassination, Rabin distanced himself from Palestinian statehood.

“We view a permanent solution [as involving] a Palestinian entity which is less than a state,” he pointedly said.

Rabin then rejected the notion of withdrawal to anything approximating the pre-1967 lines, and dismissed any thought of dividing Jerusalem: “We will not return to the June 4, 1967, lines. The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.” (Rabin meant to include the eastern slopes of the West Bank hills – a 360-meter-high topographical barrier ridge.) “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, will remain in our hands,” he averred.

Rabin ruled out removing any settlements before coming to a full peace agreement with the Palestinians.

“We 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… And first and foremost in our concerns is a united Jerusalem, as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty,” Rabin continued.

So it’s very possible that the drive to establish a Palestinian state in the grandiose contours envisioned today by the international community and the Israeli Left, and with the malfeasant Palestinian leaders we have today – is not Rabin’s true legacy at all. The use of Rabin’s name to support a galloping-forward pro- Palestinian-state peace process is left-wing historical revisionism.

If those words are not enough to persuade you, Martin Sherman writes about Hijacking Rabin’s heritage:

The perception of a positive Oslo-related Rabinesque “heritage” can only be maintained by pervasive distortion, deception and deceit. For the Oslo Accords were an act of moral turpitude that by any rational criterion of common sense and common decency should bring dishonor to anyone associated with it. It was an egregious, imbecilic blunder that precipitated all the tragedy its opponents warned of, and none of the benefits its proponents promised.

It is more than doubtful that Yitzhak Rabin would have ever committed his pen to paper if, prior to his signature on the ill-considered Oslo Accords, he had at his disposal a crystal ball by which he could foresee events – the thousands of Israelis killed and/or maimed, the Islamist takeover of Gaza, the massive build-up of rockets aimed at Israeli cities.


Sherman mentions opposition leader Shelley Yachimovich’s speech in the Knesset this week:

For example, regarding Rabin’s adoption of the Oslo process, she proclaims, “He was murdered because he implemented a policy he believed in; for which he was elected in democratic elections to lead the nation. He did not surprise his voters as did leaders of the “Right… he did exactly what he promised.

That is what he was elected for.”

Yacimovich is of course wildly incorrect on both scores – with regard to Rabin’s electoral pledges and to his embrace of the two-state-for-two-peoples idea.

Rabin’s electoral campaign never included the slightest hint that he would engage Arafat’s terrorist PLO in negotiations and certainly none that he would hand over large swathes of Judea, Samaria and Gaza to PLO rule. That would have almost certainly ensured electoral defeat. Indeed, at the time of the election any contact with the PLO was forbidden by Israeli law.

The ban on private contacts was lifted only several months after the 1992 election, pushed through by left-wing elements in the coalition despite Rabin’s reluctance, arguably underscored by the fact that he did not show up for the Knesset vote.

As David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy notes (in his “Making Peace with the PLO”): “This may have been one of the many indications that [Rabin] had no grand design to initiate negotiations with the PLO.”

Indeed, Makovsky remarks that even after the passage of the bill, “Rabin pledged there would be no governmental contacts [with the PLO].”

Astoundingly, as Makovsky reveals, Rabin was unaware of the Oslo process until almost nine months after the June 1992 election, when Peres informed him of them – in February 1993!! How then could Yacimovich claim that Rabin was elected to implement a policy whose formulation he knew nothing about at the time he was elected?


But perhaps the most dramatic demonstration of how Rabin’s political doctrine (read “heritage”) has been corrupted by his self-anointed “disciples” is to be found in the text of his final address to the Knesset, on October 5, 1995, barely a month before his assassination. In the address, in which he sought parliamentary ratification of the Oslo II Agreement, he laid out his vision for the permanent agreement with the Palestinians.

Here Sherman lists the points that Yitzchak Rabin mentioned in his speech, which have already been mentioned above and notes how time and politics have distorted his wishes:

Yet today, were any Israeli leader to embrace verbatim Nobel laureate Rabin’s prescription, he would be dismissed as an unrealistic extremist, bent on obstructing the attainment of peace, by the likes of Yacimovich, who remarked sarcastically in her Knesset address that she did not expect Binyamin Netanyahu “to identify politically with Rabin.”

Seeing that Netanyahu has already proposed arrangements far more concessionary than any Rabin ever dreamed of, one can only wonder what she would say if he did! But quite apart from the mean-spirited hypocrisy that characterizes the discussion of Rabin’s alleged “heritage,” the entire Oslo process is an abomination in terms of democratic governance, and a moral blight on the nation’s history.


… few will remember that following Rabin’s above-mentioned address, Oslo II was ratified by a margin of a single vote. It was the vote of one MK, Gonen Segev, who had been elected to the Knesset on behalf of the hawkish Tzomet faction, which opposed everything Oslo represented. He was “bribed” by Rabin to desert his party and join the Oslophilic coalition in exchange for a ministerial portfolio.

Several year later, ex-minister Segev was arrested and convicted for drug-smuggling and credit-card fraud. He was sentenced to several years in prison and on release was last heard of somewhere in Nigeria.

So in the final analysis, Oslo owes its entire existence to a drug-smuggling fraudster, who betrayed his voters – and brought disgrace to his country. That is perhaps the most compelling testimony as to the nature of those egregious, imbecilic accords – and something I am sure Rabin would want expunged from his “heritage.”

With these ringing reminders of Rabin’s true legacy, it’s about time the right and the center reclaimed the national discourse and reminded the nation what true peace really ought to look like. Hint: nothing like what the Left think it means.

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13 Responses to Yitzchak Rabin’s legacy – not what you think

  1. In 2007, Hillel Halkin wrote in the NY Sun that Rabin’s murder made no difference in outcome of the Oslo process.

    “the 1993 Oslo agreement between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, never had a chance in the first place, and that it wouldn’t have made any difference had Rabin lived to a ripe old age.”

    There is no reason to believe that an offer from Rabin would have been better than the one offered by Barak or that Arafat would have accepted it.

    • anneinpt says:

      Very true Barbara. In fact I remember the rumours and the general feeling at the time just before the assassination. People were convinced we were going to new elections and that Rabin would lose precisely because of Oslo. The assassination put a stop to that and, far from helping the right, brought terrible trouble to the entire nation.

  2. cba says:

    I was just saying this weekend that in addition to all the other reasons to (still) be horrified at Rabin’s murder, I was pretty sure that had Rabin still been around he would have had the moral authority and confidence to stop the process when he saw how the situation was deteriorating.

    I remember an interview with him around the time of the signing of the Oslo Accords, and it was clear he wasn’t jubilant (OK, so “jubilant” would never be a word associated with Rabin) and he was very, very cautious about the whole thing.

  3. PeteCA says:

    I will choose to remember Rabin in a simple way – as a man who was trying to give peace a chance.
    I will remember Egyptian President Sadat in the same way – attempting to move towards peace.

    were the actions of either man perfect? not by any chance.
    were there lots of “political implications” in what they tried to do? of course.
    but they both tried to move towards peace.
    and they both were assassinated.

    if the hardliners in the ME always succeed in eliminating the people trying to make peace – what is the logical outcome?

    Pete, USA

  4. Reality says:

    The Pals are still today stating that if we don’t give them exactly what they want (ie a Judenrein state of Israel) they will start a 3rd intifada. The first & second took place when Rabin & afterwards Barack more or less offered everything. Its time for us to react extremely harshly if a 3rd intifada starts.

    • anneinpt says:

      One small correction: Rabin definitely did not offer everything. This is what the left want us to believe but read the article carefully. However Barack certainly did, and so did Olmert. As you say, this only brought us more terror, and moved the starting line of the new negotiations ever further.

  5. Bear In mind the reality of the Palestinian/Islamic political policy – What is mine, is mine. What is yours is negotiable. Palestinian/Arab political reality is anchored to religious dogma and any reduction of its influence is tantamount to sacrilege. Western diplomats refuse to recognize these realities because they are politically incorrect and bear the impression of religious racism. The problem with Oslo and all other attempts of western diplomacy is that diplomats are too naïve to predicate any agreement with, “Remove all anti-Semitic laws and acts from your government. Remove all anti-Semitic policies and demands from your Charter. Implement and enforce penalties for anti-Semitic acts by your government and citizens. Eliminate all commitments of your government to the Koran calling for anti-Jewish actions and beliefs and for the extermination of Israel, advocating world domination of Islam and discrimination against non-Islamic religions, These predicates are fundamental and if they were not the basis for Palestinian/Islamic intransigence, they would not have to be specified prior to any negotiation, let alone any agreement. Every leader that enters negotiation with Palestinian/Islamists and fails to first demand these predicates is a fool. That includes Rabin, Netanyahu, Clinton, Kerry, Bush, Obama, etc., etc..

    • PeteCA says:

      I expect part of the problem with Westerners is that they always see the ME as though it is a negotiation. Westerners get their negotiating experience through business transactions. This means that “if you want a little – you have to give a little”. so the thinking of Westerners is that each side in the Israel-Palestinian conflict must give up some things … to gain some things. But as you point out, in the ME there are different things at stake. Any compromise on a position could be seen as caving in on religious principles – which would be a major failure. Western negotiating policy is not set up to handle that kind of instransigence.
      Pete, USA

      • Elliott Alhadeff says:

        Hi PeteCA
        You are correct that “part of the problem … ” is allowing ME to be negotiated expecting a reciprocal understanding with the other side. Although it may be that “Western negotiating policy is not set up to handle…” Islamic intransigence, Bush’s refusal to meet with Arafat after his betrayal of secretly buying a shipload of ammunition suggests otherwise – when there is a western intent to deal in good faith and it is betrayed. This western intransigence as a reply to Islamic betrayal necessitates a pro-Israeli agenda, intelligent western diplomats and a militarily strong Israel able to withstand the potential of Palestinian terror during the interim of a negotiation blackout. Presently, there is a lacking of the first two predicates, however only moderately increasing the security risks of Israel because to prevent outright hostility from its anti-Semitic brokers, Israel must appear “reasonable” to their stupid and ignorant demands to “negotiate.” However, Israel, along with its superior military position, now has the experience and intelligence to “negotiate” its refusal to accept foolish, self destructive agreements. Current events, unfortunately, will eventually demand Israel act to neutralize the existential threat posed by Iran. Hopefully, by then, Israel will have made its case with the International Community and its anti-Semitic diplomats requiring them to acknowledge Israel’s legitimacy in its actions of self defense.

    • anneinpt says:

      Very well said Elliott. In fact, Netanyahu with his non-negotiable demand for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state more or less encapsulates your recommendation to “remove all anti-Semitic laws etc.”. But all he gets for that demand is condemnation or derision from Israel’s leftists as well as the international community. At least he is sticking to his guns so far.


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