Photo: Reuters
'Didn't get even one bullet.' Palestinian police officers
Photo: Reuters
Eitan Haber

Things you never wanted to know

10th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination offers chance to refute myths about Oslo process

The 10th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin is a chance to refute some of the statements that have since taken hold of us.


Several people are responsible for these statements, in which a capable propaganda apparatus has repeated endlessly untruths, and (just about) the whole country buys into it.


To be sure, this is no objective opinion piece. I don’t even want to be objective.


Israel gave guns to the Palestinians? Not even one bullet.


In the peace agreement with Egypt, Prime Minister Menachem Begin agreed the Palestinians should have a "strong police force."


Then, in the late 1970s, the assumption was that in order to assert control, the Palestinian police needed arms. When then-Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and then-Defense Minister Ezer Weizmann were asked to explain the phrase "strong police force," they said: No slingshots and no clubs.


At Oslo, we based this issue on the Camp David accords, and we agreed that the Palestinian police needed weapons in order to control the population.


The assumption, current even today, that the IDF opened its gunneries to supply the Palestinians, is absurd.


No Israeli body, military or otherwise, has ever supplied the Palestinians with weapons.


Rabin, as prime minister, even rejected a Palestinian request to purchase side arms for policemen from Israeli sources.


Don't give them guns


How did this mistake gain currency? Because when the Oslo Accords were signed, the settlers embarked on a concerted campaign: "Don't give them guns."


This expression was taken from a poem by the Zionist poet Natan Alterman.


It was clear to the settlers that the country would accept the word "give"; that is to say, that Israel was giving the Palestinians guns.


The message caught on, and the settlers and their supporters repeated it endlessly.


But the Palestinians brought their guns with them from Tunis. They were theirs. We recorded their numbers.


There were 11,000 weapons known to us, whereas the Shin Bet - the same Shin Bet that recommended earlier this month to transfer more weapons to the Palestinians - estimated that even before the agreement, there were thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of weapons in the West Bank and Gaza.


One way or another, the IDF gave nothing.


True, it might even have been more serious to allow them to bring weapons from Tunis, but the difference between these two positions is like your feelings when you started to read this piece: just five minutes ago, you thought, 'how terrible for Israelis to be killed by guns the IDF gave the terrorists.' Didn't you?




In February 1994, three members of Rafael Eitan's "Tsomet" party – Gonen Segev, Alex Goldfarb and Esther Salmovitz – left the party. Rabin had asked them to join the coalition, and the Knesset began a war of attrition against the trio.


During the fight, Likud Knesset Member Michael Eitan said, "You are selling yourselves for a Mitsubishi (Japanese car)."


From that day forward, almost to the present time, Likud politicians, led by Limor Livnat, have repeated this phrase over and over. It was mainly her project: Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi.


In January, 1995, Segev and Goldfarb joined the coalition, and Goldfarb was nominated to be an assistant minister.


By the way, he also received a "copy".


It wasn't until October 6, 1995 -9 months later –that the Knesset voted on the second Oslo agreement; at the center stood the drama surrounding Goldfarb.


The agreement was ratified 61-59. Goldfarb had been an assistant minister for a long time.


Note 1: No one remembers today that Goldfarb's vote was crucial because two Labor members – Emanuel Zisman and Avidgor Kahalani - broke ranks to side with the opposition. Of course, this was acceptable.


Note 2: No one from the coalition remembered at the time how years before Ariel Sharon hid Knesset Member Eliezer Mizrahi in an orchard in southern Israel to ensure he would not be present when the Knesset voted to approve a government headed by Shimon Peres, or the price that was paid for that vote.


פרסום ראשון: 10.30.05, 11:20
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