Martin Indyk, Barak Ravid and Haaretz (and NPR) campaign to pin Rabin assassination on Netanyahu continuesthe only edition that's read and it's read mostly outside Israel) headline: Indyk: At Funeral, Netanyahu Lamented That Assassination Made Rabin a Hero.
Indyk made the remarks in a Frontline documentary broadcast on PBS on Tuesday. Netanyahu was opposition leader at the time.Netanyahu's office denies that the conversation ever took place and says that Indyk fabricated it.
"Netanyahu sat next to me when I was ambassador in Israel at the time of Rabin’s funeral," Indyk says in the film. " … I remember Netanyahu saying to me: 'Look, look at this. He’s a hero now, but if he had not been assassinated, I would have beaten him in the elections, and then he would have gone into history as a failed politician.”
Indyk said that he had the impression that "even at that moment of tremendous support, a tragic moment of support for Rabin, Netanyahu was thinking, well, politically he was on the ropes before he was assassinated."
Indyk's comments are reinforced by a telegram sent from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv on the morning after Rabin's assassination, a message that was exposed by Wikileaks a few years back. In the classified telegram that Indyk sent on November 5, 1995 at 10:15 A.M. to the White House and the State Department, he reported on a conversation that had taken place a few hours earlier between the State Department adviser at the embassy and Netanyahu. The Rabin assassination, Netanyahu is quoted as saying, is "a disaster for the Jewish people, a disaster for Israel and a disaster for the right, which will be decimated if elections are called soon."
The Prime Minister's Office issued a “blanket denial,” saying that what Indyk said “never happened.”True that.
The Likud issued a response to Indyk's statement saying that “this is another blatant lie by Indyk, who never stops discrediting and defaming” Netanyahu.
But what's also true is that the comments attributed to Netanyahu do reflect what the conventional wisdom here in Israel was shortly after the assassination: That it would turn Rabin into an icon (indeed, it has made criticizing the very premises of the Oslo Accords into heresy) and would decimate the Right the next time there were elections.
But instead of calling elections immediately as many in the Left urged Shimon Peres to do (link in Hebrew and discussed below), Peres waited three and a half months to call elections, by which time the 'Palestinians' had committed two massive terror attacks here in Jerusalem against the number 18 bus on consecutive Sunday mornings followed by a massive terror attack on the eve of Purim at Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv.
The elections took place in late May, and shortly after Uzi Baram of the Labor party publicly thanked Arab voters for putting his party and the Left over the top, around 6:00 am on the morning after the elections, Netanyahu and the Likud suddenly and inexplicably pulled ahead and went on to victory.
Much of that is in - or is alluded to - in the Hebrew version of Ravid's article, which has far more than the English version. The Hebrew version reports that on the morning of Rabin's funeral, the Left was behaving every bit as politically expediently as the Right, urging Peres to call elections. And the Hebrew version reports that Yasser Arafat was decimated by Rabin's assassination (no other event shook him as much except for the 1988 assassination of his top aide - Abu Jihad - allegedly by Israeli commandos led by Ehud Barak in Tunis), believing correctly that Peres would not be strong enough or have close enough connections to the IDF to give the 'Palestinians' their reichlet.
The Hebrew version of Haaretz also reports that Arafat gave orders to the 'Palestinians' to 'minimize' celebrations of Rabin's assassination and shooting in the air (an order that Arafat did not give on 9/11 by the way).
Not the first time that Haaretz has told a lot more in Hebrew than it did in English. For those who read Hebrew, read the whole thing. I don't have time to translate it.