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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Historical context for last night's post on Rabin

Last night, a fellow blog owner dropped me an email about my post on the Rabin assassination that said, "very interesting, more complicated conspiracy theory than Kennedy, but why would they have wanted to fake an assassination?" A bit of context is in order.

On November 4, 1995, Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated.

In September 1993, Rabin had signed the Oslo declaration of principles on the White House Lawn with Yasser Arafat and Bill Clinton.

In between, Rabin's popularity sunk. Here is some background.

The main reason for Rabin's sinking popularity was Yasser Arafat's on again - off again 'cooperation' with what he was supposed to do under the Oslo accords. For example,
On 10 May 1994, Yasir Arafat gave what he thought was an off-the-record talk at a mosque while visiting Johannesburg, South Africa. But a South African journalist, Bruce Whitfield of 702 Talk Radio, found a way secretly to record his (English-language) remarks. The moment was an optimistic one for the Arab-Israeli peace process, Arafat having just six days earlier returned triumphantly to Gaza; it was widely thought that the conflict was winding down. In this context, Arafat's bellicose talk in Johannesburg about a "jihad to liberate Jerusalem," had a major impact on Israelis, beginning a process of disillusionment ....

No less damaging than his comments about Jerusalem was Arafat's cryptic allusion about his agreement with Israel. Criticized by Arabs and Muslims for having made concessions to Israel, he defended his actions by comparing them to those of the Prophet Muhammad in a similar circumstance:
I see this agreement as being no more than the agreement signed between our Prophet Muhammad and the Quraysh in Mecca.
Arafat further drew out the comparison, noting that although Muhammad had been criticized for this diplomacy by one of his leading companions (and a future caliph), `Umar ibn al-Khattab, the prophet had been right to insist on the agreement, for it helped him defeat the Quraysh and take over their city of Mecca. In a similar spirit,
we now accept the peace agreement, but [only in order] to continue on the road to Jerusalem.
As Rabin continued forward with the 'peace process' despite Arafat's lack of cooperation, Rabin's popularity and that of the 'peace process' declined.

As a result, someone - probably Rabin himself although this is one of the things that has been kept a 'national secret' due to 'security' - instructed the Shabak (General Security Service) to undertake a 'dirty tricks' type of operation. For those of you who remember Watergate in the 1970's, think Donald Segretti. The Shabak hired Avishai Raviv to arrange 'opposition' to Rabin that would arouse sympathy for him. The two most notorious Raviv dirty tricks were the "swearing in" ceremony and the "Nazi poster."

On Friday, September 22, 1995, Israel television correspondent Eitan Oren broadcast a "swearing in" ceremony for an organization called Eyal - a radical right wing organization:
It included several youngsters led by Avishai Raviv, later to be revealed as a GSS (Shabak) agent provocateur, swearing over the graves of two Lechi fighters at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, to kill non-Jews and even Jews to prevent the Oslo process from continuing. Based on an assumption, IMW immediately questioned the authenticity of the clip.
The intent of the 'ceremony' was to give the impression that the 'peace process' and those who would carry it out (i.e. Rabin) were in danger from the 'radical right', and thereby to arouse sympathy for Rabin and the 'peace process'. When an Arab was murdered in Halhoul a couple of weeks later, Raviv went on television and bragged that Eyal had done it. In fact, it was later disclosed, that the Arab had been murdered by Arabs. A few weeks later, at a Likud-sponsored rally in Jerusalem's Zion Square, Raviv commissioned posters and t-shirts of Rabin in an SS uniform, which he then displayed to television reporters. The country was outraged.
In September 1995, Rabin, 'Arafat, and Peres, all newly named winners of the Nobel Prize for Peace, assembled again on the White House lawn to sign the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip (often called Oslo II). This detailed and long-delayed agreement established a schedule for Israeli withdrawals from the Palestinian population centres (to be implemented in several stages) and created a complex system of zones that were divided between areas fully controlled by the Palestinians, those under Palestinian civil authority but Israeli military control, and those exclusively under Israeli control. It also set elections for a president and council of the Palestinian Authority, which would govern the Palestinian population in the occupied territories.

Although Oslo I had received strong parliamentary support, Oslo II was ratified by only one vote in the Knesset, signaling a significant loss of support for Rabin. Many Israelis were angry over 'Arafat's erratic cooperation on security, and others, especially the Likud—now led by Israel's former ambassador to the UN, Benjamin Netanyahu—hotly opposed withdrawals or further dealings with 'Arafat. Meanwhile, the Sephardic Shas Party had left the coalition in protest over the indictment of its parliamentary leader for fraud. Bereft of his coalition's balance, Rabin had to depend on the vote of the Israeli Arab members of the Knesset for his majority....

Shortly after Oslo II was passed in the Knesset, Rabin decided on a public campaign to rally his supporters, and it was following the first such rally in Tel Aviv in November 1995 that he was assassinated .... Israelis were horrified, and after a funeral attended by many international leaders, including Arabs, a round of soul-searching and recriminations began....
But the ratification by only one vote did not even represent a majority. For, as then-President Ezer Weizmann (who supported Oslo) noted:
"The agreement is not an agreement. It passed the Knesset by a majority of one and this would not have succeeded if not for one MK and his Mitsubishi." (A reference to vote thief Alex Goldfarb, former member of the Tzomet Party, who now backs the Labor Party to maintain his Deputy Ministerial position and his government automobile.)

Unfortunately, in typical Israeli fashion, the ensuing debate over Weizmann's words did not center around whether they were right but whether he had a right to say them.
Here's another account:
Gonen Segev emblazoned his name forever in the annals of infamy back at the time of the Knesset’s vote on the Oslo II agreement in October 1995. He was elected to the Knesset in 1992 on the ticket of the Tsomet Party—a hawkish party to the right of Likud that became thoroughly anti-Oslo as the “process” emerged. But Gonen and his sidekick Alex Goldfarb bolted Tsomet, joined Labor, and cast the two votes that enabled Oslo II to squeak past by a margin of 61-59. For the citizens’ votes that they’d bargained away, Segev and Goldfarb were each rewarded, it was commonly understood, with a cabinet post and a new car by the Rabin-Peres Labor Party.

In other words, except for that glitch of corruption the Oslo II agreement would have been rejected by the elected representatives of the Israeli people (especially the Jewish representatives, among whom the anti-agreement margin was wide even after Segev and Goldfarb’s treachery). But, rather than refusing to make further concessions to the genocidal Palestinian Authority or for that matter dismantling it, the “process” moved on, taking its toll of blood ....
What seems to have happened on November 4, 1995, from the medical evidence my friend Josh has discovered, is that the assassination was another 'dirty trick' designed to elicit sympathy for Rabin and to convince the country that there was a right-wing conspiracy against him. Yigal Amir was a member of Eyal and a 'friend' of Avishai Raviv. Raviv egged Amir on to assassinate Rabin. Amir apparently believed that he had assassinated Rabin, and as a result, he confessed. But Amir's gun only had blanks, which those who planned the 'assassination' may not have known could hurt anybody (and this is where Josh and I part company from the conspiracy theorists who believe that someone else in Israeli politics wanted Rabin dead). When the blanks seemingly mortally wounded Rabin, someone other than Amir finished the job, thinking they were sparing Rabin from more suffering. This explains some of the notorious open questions from the assassination: why Leah Rabin was told that her husband was "safe," why someone yelled "srak, srak" (blanks, blanks) after the shots were fired, and why it took 22 minutes to get Rabin to Ichilov hospital, when it should have taken ninety seconds by car. You could walk from what is now Rabin Square to Ichilov in much less than 22 minutes. I have done it myself.

Finally, to those who ask why this is "just coming out now." It's not. If you do a google search you will find that there are hundreds of documents out there and there have been for years now. Next month, on the anniversary of Rabin's death, you are likely to hear a lot more about this. But then it will likely die down and everyone will forget about it. Amir will continue to sit in jail and Israelis will continue not to know the truth....


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