Rabin's political testament
As the fifth anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination drew near in 2000, the organization dedicated to preserving Rabin's heritage convened a large and politically diverse group to discuss the character of the events that marked a murder that shook the Israeli and Jewish nation to the core, shifting its foundations perhaps forever.
Organizers of the commemoration heeded advice against using the day as an indictment against the right wing, as had been the case previously. The events would focus on a condemnation of all violence, incitement, and threats to national unity. In addition, they would educate the public about the boundaries of tolerance and the acceptance of the authority of democracy.
Proposals to include representatives of all political streams, despite the hard feelings harbored by the Rabin family against certain right-wing figures, were accepted, but only partially implemented. The late Leah Rabin, Yitzhak Rabin's widow, had supported such suggestions.
The numerous - some say too numerous - proposals for this year's 10th anniversary indicate that organizers have adopted a different approach this time around. The formal events are to include controversial political themes called "Rabin's heritage." Therefore, the official commemoration day, which should unite and pull together the country, might deepen the separation and controversy within the nation. The writing is already on the wall in more ways than one. In addition, various organizations are, in extensive, yet unofficial efforts, planning to take advantage of the day to batter, incite and deepen rifts as though the resentment and bleeding wounds left by the disengagement were insufficient.
Rabin was never a Peace Now man. But according to the way the movement's leaders describe him today, youngsters who grew up after his death and adults who already have forgotten could identify him with the movement that had demonstrated against him so strongly. Meretz, whose leaders roundly denounced the late prime minister during the first intifada, is also "adopting" him to its political bosom.
It is hard to understand why those who hold Rabin's memory dear do not come out against these organizations and their members, who are making it impossible for a considerable part of the country's citizens to participate in the memorial day's events. After all, they should bring them closer to and make them partners with the real lessons to be learned from the events a decade ago. Instead, they are trying to foist on them an estranged "heritage" that doesn't reflect the murdered prime minister's political views.
Rabin made his real opinions clear on October 5, 1995, exactly one month before he was murdered, when he made his last speech in the Knesset to which he submitted the principles of Oslo B. These opinions are a far cry from opinions attributed to him today: "We shall not return to the lines of June 4, 1967," he said. "Israel's borders for the final status settlement will be beyond the lines that existed before the Six Day War... and these are the main changes - not all of them - in the final status agreement: first and foremost a united Jerusalem, which will include Ma'ale Adumim and Givat Ze'ev as Israel's capital... the security border will be placed in the Jordan Valley, in the widest sense of the term. [And also] changes will include adding Gush Etzion, Efrat, Betar and other settlements, most of which are east of what used to be the Green Line... and settlement blocs like Gush Katif, and I wish there were settlements like them in Judea and Samaria."
The Alon Plan, therefore, is Rabin's heritage and not the plan of Ariel Sharon, who supports, in addition to larger pullouts, a Palestinian state. "... it will be an entity that is less than a state, and it will conduct the lives of the Palestinians subjected to it independently," Rabin declared, as recorded in the Knesset that day in October. That, if anything, is Rabin's political heritage and testament.