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>Israel Faxx
>JN Nov. 5, 1997, Vol. 5., No. 203

Two Years Later, Rabin Killing Haunts Israel

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

As Israeli-Palestinian talks continued in Washington Tuesday, Israel marked the second anniversary of the assassination of one of the peace architects -- Yitzhak Rabin.

Protesters followed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a visit to Beersheva tuesday, carrying signs and chanting slogans like "Resign, Israel deserves better." Netanyahu responded by saying some Israelis are trying to blame the entire right-wing, about half the population, for the Rabin murder, and he said they should stop trying to "divide the people."

The incident in Beersheba was indicative of the debate on this second anniversary of the assassination. Right-wing conspiracy theorists are recycling a variety of accusations the Israeli security services -- or even Rabin's successor Shimon Peres -- are responsible for the killing. The head of the commission which investigated the killing sharply denies the accusations.

Leftists are reviving complaints the assassin, Yigal Amir, a right-wing Jewish student, achieved his goal of stopping the peace process, and are again blaming Netanyahu and other right-wing leaders for allegedly encouraging extremists who opposed Rabin.

Some leftists are trying to block the prime minister from speaking at a special memorial session of parliament next week. Peres said Tuesday that although the murder was tragic, and the Labor Party lost power afterwards, the peace process did not die with Rabin.

"It is a tragic moment, it is a painful moment, it is an unforgettable moment, but his colleagues and ourselves, we shall do whatever we can to carry on with the peace process. Nobody will stop us, and nobody will frighten us."

Commentators write Israel is more sharply divided than ever between right and left, religious and non-religious, rich and poor, and between Jews of European descent and those from Arab countries. Some lament talk of trying to bridge those gaps in the months immediately after the shock of the assassination never really went anywhere.

Only half of those visiting Rabin's grave, who were surveyed by a newspaper, said they planned to mark the anniversary in any way. Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat said he and Rabin had made a "peace of the brave" and it is difficult to pursue it with the current Israeli government.

A divided Israel marked the second anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin on Tuesday in a dark national mood of mistrust and recrimination. A stream of Israelis paid homage to the late prime minister by lighting candles in the wind at his Jerusalem grave. Under gloomy skies, others visited the Tel Aviv square where a religious Jew opposed to his peace policies shot him. Rabin's widow Leah laid a wreath at her husband's headstone in Mount Herzl cemetery during a memorial for family, friends, comrades-in-arms and political allies.

The demonstrators trailing Netanyahu accused him of killing the peace. But he and his supporters say by slowing down the growth of the areas under Palestinian control and insisting on a crackdown on militant groups, they are saving Israel from the dangerously lenient policy Rabin was pursuing.


Israel's Sharon Loses Lebanon War Libel Suit

Ariel Sharon lost a libel suit Tuesday against a newspaper which reported the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin had felt the former general misled him over the planned scope of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

The Tel Aviv District Court ruled there were grounds for Uzi Benziman, a reporter for Haaretz newspaper, to conclude in a 1991 article that Begin knew Sharon had deceived him over how far Israeli troops would push north. Judge Moshe Talgam said in the ruling "Begin knew Sharon had not acted honestly toward him."


Grieving Family Refused Fare to Visit Grave

By IINS News Service

The parents of Sgt. Gideon Posner were turned down by the Defense Ministry regarding their request for financing to visit their son's grave three times a year.

Posner was one of the 73 IDF soldiers killed in the Feb. 4 mid-air helicopter crash. His parents live in England and requested that the Ministry of Defense finance three trips a year to Israel, to permit them to visit the grave of their son. In its response, the Defense Ministry offered to finance one trip every 10 years.


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