(November 7, 2018 / JNS) “The Rabin murder is the most successful political murder in history,” asserted Meretz Party leader Tamar Zandberg.
The murderer, Yigal Amir, is sitting in his prison cell, basking in pleasure. He can see the myth being built around him: He’s the person who stopped the wheels of history in their tracks; he won, his path won. If there are any other Amirs out there, they, too, are hearing and internalizing the message. If he succeeded, they ponder, then we, too, can succeed.
An irresponsible comment of this sort loads their warped minds with ammunition. Even if there were a kernel of truth in the claim of Amir’s victory, caution should be practiced when engaging in this dangerous discourse—all the more so when the claim is baseless.
According to the myth that Knesset member Zandberg is diligently cultivating, had it not been for his murder, Yitzhak Rabin would have assuredly won the elections and completed the Oslo process; culminating in a final peace contract between Israel and the Palestinians to end the conflict.
Utter nonsense. On the eve of the murder, the Likud under Benjamin Netanyahu was beating Rabin in the polls. In the wake of the murder, the polls drastically turned, and Shimon Peres emerged with a 40 percent lead over Netanyahu.
Those who pushed public opinion and Israeli voters to the right, towards Netanyahu, were the Palestinians, following a chain of deadly terrorist bombings in the winter of 1996. Had it not been for the murder, Netanyahu would have had the momentum, and the result would have been similar to Ariel Sharon’s landslide victory after the Camp David summit between Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak and the campaign of terror in its wake.
And even if Rabin would have won the elections, he wouldn’t have reached a final-status agreement. In contrast to his image as a diplomatic dove, which the left insists on marketing, Rabin was hawkish in his views.
On the eve of the murder he laid out his diplomatic legacy in a Knesset speech, in which he presented the red lines for a final-status deal: We won’t return to the pre-1967 borders. … A united Jerusalem, including Ma’ale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev as the capital of Israel, under Israeli rule. … Israel’s security border will be in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest sense of the geographical term. … Gush Etzion, Efrat and Beitar will be under Israeli rule. … Israeli settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza will remain under Israeli rule without any change in their status.
Quite the gap from the offers made by Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, which the Palestinians predictably rejected with bullets, bombs and terror. Around the time of his death, Rabin had frozen the withdrawal from Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria because of terrorist incidents. His successor, Shimon Peres, changed the policy, pulled back from the cities—and the result is a matter of historical record.
The waves of terror that trailed these concessions in Judea and Samaria, and again following the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, are evidence that the conflict doesn’t stem from “occupation.” Therefore, no withdrawal will lead to peace. The conflict is rooted in the Palestinians’ refusal to accept the presence of Jews in this land and Israel’s right to exist. Peace isn’t on the docket today and wasn’t on the docket when Rabin was alive, either.
Amir didn’t influence diplomatic processes. No one affected them more than Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat, who misled Rabin. Arguing that his murder torpedoed the peace process absolves the Palestinians of responsibility for their belligerence and helps the left evade the historical truth: It wasn’t the murder that destroyed the chance for peace; it was our “partners” in Ramallah.