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Sep 16th 2007

The Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin: Which direction for Israel in the wake of his assassination?

This article is reprinted with permission from Facts and Logic About the Middle East. Visit FLAME’s website, factsandlogic.org, to read every one of their excellent articles debunking common misconceptions about the history and current events of the Middle East. — Admin

Yitzhak Rabin was an Israeli patriot and military hero. His assassination was an almost intolerable blow to his country and to Jews and people all over the world. Now that the first shock has passed, it may be time to assess his legacy.

What are the facts?

Background of the “peace process:” Rabin’s party, the Labor Party, was elected primarily on the strength of its leader’s promise to the Israeli people that he would put an end to the intifada (the Arab uprising) within six months of his assuming the government. He did also promise the Israeli people that he would never negotiate with the PLO, that he would not yield sovereignty over the Israeli heartland of Judea/Samaria (the “West Bank”); that he would not allow a Palestinian state to be created in the “West Bank” and Gaza; that he would never yield the Golan Heights to Syria; and that Jerusalem would forever remain the undivided capital of the state of Israel. But, unbeknownst to him, his foreign secretary, Shimon Peres, and his staff were negotiating with the PLO. Since any contact with the PLO was prohibited by Israeli law, these negotiations were quite illegal. They were conducted in such secrecy that neither Prime Minister Rabin, the Israeli public, nor the United States — Israel’s closest ally — were aware of them. No Israeli intelligence and military experts were present at these “Oslo 1” discussions, which culminated in the so-called “Declaration of Principles” and that historical handshake in Washington.

With obvious misgivings, Prime Minister Rabin proceeded with the implementation of this “peace process” by, as a first step, granting autonomy and governance to the PLO over Gaza and the Samarian city of Jericho. That governance was later expanded to other cities and areas of the “West Bank”. But Mr. Rabin, who had spent most of his life in his country’s military service, was well-aware of the strategic importance of the “West Bank” for Israel’s defense; it can be assumed that, whatever the pressures, he would never have given up military control over the area. While he did allow negotiations with Syria concerning yielding part of the Golan Heights to that country for the sake of peace, he was keenly aware that before the Six-Day War of 1967, in which Israel ousted Syria from the Heights, the Syrians had shelled northern Israel almost daily and made life there virtually impossible. Thus, it is clear that he would never have yielded all of the Golan, that he, just as he had promised in his election campaign, would have insisted that Israel retain a sufficient presence on the Heights to keep constant vigilance over Syria and to keep that country’s formidable war machine in check.

Things changed with Mr. Rabin’s assassination. Shimon Peres, who had conducted the secret negotiations with the PLO, is now prime minister; unfortunately, he may be assumed to pursue a much more heedless approach to the “peace process”.

As things are developing under this new leadership, there would seem to be little doubt that full control over the “West Bank” will be transferred to the PLO, to Arafat and to his 30,000 soldiers (disguised as policemen). Few doubt that before too long — unless there is an early change in the Israeli government — a Palestinian state will come into existence in the “West Bank” and in Gaza; that the Golan will be handed over to Syria in exchange for vague promises; and that Jerusalem, where the PLO — in total contravention of the Declaration of Principles — already maintains de facto government offices, will be divided with the western half being the capital of a diminished and vulnerable Israel and the eastern half, the capital of the new Palestinian state. While under Rabin’s leadership, each Israeli concession to the Arabs would be matched by a corresponding Arab concession and that Israel’s security interests would be kept foremost in mind, there now seems to be a headlong rush into “peace at any price”, without proper respect for Israel’s security interests and ultimately for its survival.

Life-and-death decisions without a mandate: It is sometimes forgotten that the “peace process” was initiated by Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who signed the Camp David Accord with Egypt, and continued by his successor Yitzhak Shamir in the Madrid Round, both of them of the opposition Likud Party. They had solid popular and Knesset support for their initiatives. But now, the Knesset majority of the Labor Party is paper thin: 61/59. It is on the basis of this minimal majority that Mr. Peres now arrogates to himself the power of decision to change the borders of and to truncate his country. A clear mandate, a super-majority in parliament or in a plebiscite should be required to make such life-and-death decisions. Yet, Mr. Peres is now prepared to make such crucial decisions on the basis of the flimsiest of mandates. Of the 61 votes in favor of the government, five belong to Arab parties. Especially since Mr. Rabin elevated the PLO terror organization to respectability, Israeli Arabs — disaffected in any case — do not identify with and do not promote the interests of Israel, the Jewish state. They identify with and promote the interests of the PLO and of the hoped-for Palestinian state. There is little doubt that, before too long, the Israel Arabs who are concentrated in Galilee will demand severance from Israel and “Anschluss” to the new state of Palestine, thus further carving up Israel and contributing to its strategic disadvantage. If, as seems now to be foreordained, Mr. Peres will yield the Golan to Syria, and with the “West Bank” in hostile Arab hands, Israel will be mortally weakened and virtually indefensible. That is the opinion of top Israeli military experts and of 100 U.S. generals and admirals who have so reported to the President. The declared aim of the PLO, clearly stated in their covenant and never rescinded, is the destruction of Israel. The Arabs have recognized that, at least at present, that cannot be done by military means. The strategy, therefore, is the destruction of Israel in stages — first, by creating a Palestinian state in any territory that can be taken over through Israeli acquiescence, and then to foment an all-out assault against the critically vulnerable Jewish state. The policies of the current Israeli government seem to have made that goal more attainable.

The deluded fool who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin has accomplished the exact opposite of what he had intended. After having suffered more Arab terror casualties since the handshake than in any comparable period, it seemed pretty clear that the Israeli public had become disenchanted with the “peace process” and that the Rabin/Labor government would be defeated in the elections scheduled for the end of this year. Because of his martyrdom, there is now much doubt about the outcome of the election. It is quite likely that another Labor government will be elected and that the “peace process” will be continued, with the fateful results it may entail for Israel. One can only hope that Israelis will not canonize Yitzhak Rabin, that they will take a very hard look at the “peace process” and its almost inevitable consequences, before it is too late.

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