Opinion: Did Rabin’s assassin succeed in ‘murdering peace’?

The Left thinks Rabin’s killer “murdered peace.” Those on the right believe he did not change history.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A war of historical views broke out following Saturday night’s commemoration at Rabin Square to mark the 23rd anniversary of his murder. One view holds that the assassin derailed the Oslo Accords. The other that he prolonged them.

Yigal Amir, who is serving a life sentence without chance of parole for the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, believed that the Oslo Accords that Rabin had signed the previous year were a disaster for the Jewish people, leading to a wave of Palestinian terror that cost the lives of hundreds of Israelis. He was determined to wreck the agreement in one horrific, criminal act.

Twenty-three years later, controversy still swirls over whether he succeeded. The answer depends on which side of the political spectrum you ask.

Tamar Zandberg, head of the radical left-wing Meretz Party, speaking to the tens of thousands who came out to Rabin Square, called it “the most successful political murder in history.” She said, “The murder succeeded, the goal was attained, peace was pulverized.”

She went still further, maintaining that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (then vocal leader of the opposition)  “turned incitement into a primary tool to keep the peace camp submissive, controlled, crushed. He uses it to ensure that the legacy of the murder remains intact – that is, that the legacy of peace will remain deep in the grave.”

Another version

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein of the Likud Party disputed Zandberg’s version of history on Army Radio Sunday.

“I think that this despicable political murder had no influence on history,” he said. “If he achieved any results, they were the opposite of what he wanted.” In a later statement, his office clarified that Amir’s act “extended the life of the Oslo Accords, which were going to fail from the start.”

Since Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas periodically threatens to formally withdraw from the Accords – the last time being just a few weeks ago – and Israel has yet to take back control over the parts of Judea, Samaria and Gaza that it ceded to Yasser Arafat, it appears that the Accords are still a going concern.

Whether incitement is the exclusive province of the Right, as Zandberg and others claim, is open to question. Sole representative of the Right, Tzachi Hanegbi of the Likud, received a steady stream of boos at the rally, even as he pled for unity.

“When the murderer struck the prime minister, each and every one of my partners in that political struggle felt exactly what the Israelis felt on the other side of the ideological divide – great pain and sorrow. If I were there, I would have taken the bullet instead of Rabin. We must always remember that we are all brothers. This is the way to keep our country together,” he said through the booing.

“We must never forget why Jerusalem was destroyed, why the Second Temple was destroyed – because of hatred. The murderer [who shot] Yitzhak Rabin’s back was ready to inflict further destruction upon us. He wanted to control history, to control us citizens. He wanted to take a shortcut, he wanted to take a life in order to kill policy even at the cost of killing democracy and the price of civil war.”

After the speech, Hanegbi said that despite the crowd’s reaction, he was glad that he had come. “I spoke to the people and to their heart…It was very important that the things I believe be heard from this stage without trying to flatter the audience. As you saw in my speech, I dedicated us to being one people and this message is important.”