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Rabin's Legacy?

Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin 

History upon request

Op-ed: Despite leftists' claim, Rabin never publicly supported creation of Palestinian state within '67 borders

Hagai Segal
Published: 11.04.12, 10:51 / Israel Opinion

Most of the guests at the special Knesset session marking 17 years since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin were teenagers. A large group of combat soldiers sat in the gallery to the right of Speaker Reuven Rivlin, and many youth movement members were also in attendance.


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When leaders address the generation that did not know Rabin, it is important that they get their facts straight. Youngsters are all but helpless in the face of malicious or inadvertent distortions of historical facts.


Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who did not appreciate Rivlin's speech against dividing the land, opened by protesting against what he referred to as the exploitation of the teenage guests' innocence, but later he misled them by claiming that Rabin was an avid proponent of a Palestinian state.


"Rabin realized that only a two-state solution could guarantee the future of the Zionist enterprise. Any other way will invariably lead us to a bi-national or undemocratic state," Barak said during the session. Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich echoed his remarks, saying Rabin supported the two-state solution.


Nonsense. Rabin did not support the two state solution. Not once did he go on record as saying he was in favor of the establishment of another state west of the Jordan River. Rabin was in favor of dividing the land, he was against settlements deep within the West Bank and he feared the demographic problem, but he never called for the creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.


During his first term as prime minister Rabin referred to a Palestinian state in terms of a cancer (Newsweek, 12.8.1975), and during his second term he spoke vaguely of a "Palestinian entity," which is more an autonomy than an actual state.


The Labor Party's platform in the 1992 elections promised a "Jordanian-Palestinian framework that will agree to extensive cooperation with Israel, not a separate Palestinian state west of the Jordan (River)." During the Oslo period, Rabin sent a letter to the chairman of the Likud faction saying "I am sticking to the position that an independent Palestinian state will not be established between Israel and Jordan."


Rabin may have spoken differently behind closed doors, but such statements do not constitute a legacy – they are classified information. The public Rabin was positioned even further to the right than the current Likud party is. There, the Left cannot recruit him for its 2013 campaign.




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