On Rabin anniversary, Ben-Eliezer says 'next political murder is around the corner'
U.K. Foreign Secretary: We, as Israel's friends, must ensure Rabin's vision, flame of peace is kept alive.
As Israel marked 13 years since prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was murdered at the hands of an extreme right winger, Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer said Tuesday that the next political assassination was "around the corner."
An unofficial ceremony was held at Jerusalem's Herzl Mount cemetery in Rabin's honor on Tuesday. The official ceremony will be held on November 8, the anniversary of the date according to the Hebrew calendar.
The ceremony was attended by former and current Labor Party members, among them Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Ophir Pines-Paz and former deputy defense minister Efraim Sneh. Rabin's relatives were also in attendance, including his sister, his daughter and his grandchildren. Rabin's son, Yuval, did not attend the ceremony.
In his address, Ben-Eliezer said "the writing is on the wall again, and this time in bigger and clearer letters: the next political assassination is around the corder. Somewhere in Israel someone is already holding a loaded weapon, and there is someone giving that person spiritual inspiration and a sense of an ideological mission."
Ben-Eliezer also criticized the West Bank settlers, saying "those who can't survive on day without the protection of the Israel Defense Forces and the Border Police, allow themselves to curse and assault soldiers and officers on duty."
Referring to the recent evacuation of the illegal Federman Farm outpost near Hebron, during which settlers verbally attacked IDF soldiers and promised "revenge attacks" over the evacuation, Ben Eliezer went on to say "a handful of outlaws have tainted an entire group."
Barak refrained from making political comments in his address, noting the fundamentals of leadership which Rabin possessed.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Tuesday in a speech to the annual lunch of Labor Friends of Israel in London "Yitzhak Rabin was fond of pointing out that in the Bible peace is mentioned in its various idioms 237 times. I am not a religious person but today I feel it is appropriate to say that we, Israel's most committed friends, need to do everything we can to serve Rabin's vision, to ensure that the repeated Biblical injunction is not lost, and that the flame of peace is kept alive. I assure you that is what our government, your government, will do."
The Foreign Secretary, however, also warned that current efforts to achieve a two-state solution are not succeeding.
"It is in the nature of our party's traditions to be optimistic about the future, to resist the temptations of fatalism. But today we must be honest with ourselves. Surveying the Middle East now, it is hard not to feel a deep sense of apprehension about the future.
Earlier Tuesday, Rabin's daughter warned that the incitement by the extreme right that was prevalent in Israel 13 years ago still exists today.
"Today we are also hearing the same shrill voices, perhaps with different terminology, but it is impossible to ignore their intensity," said Dalia Rabin, speaking to Army Radio.
Yigal Amir shot Rabin three times on November 4, 1995. Amir wanted to stop the peace process Rabin initiated with the Palestinians.
Following a huge public outcry, Israeli TV channels on Friday decided to pull an interview with him that had been set to air in the evening. Excerpts from the interview were aired on Thursday evening on Channel 10 and Channel Two, in which Amir spoke about how the idea to commit the murder initially came about.
On Sunday, the head of Shin Bet security service warned that extremist settlers might carry out another political assassination. Yuval Diskin said he was very concerned about the possibility.