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Rabin told this writer during that 1991 interview that he was willing to take a chance for peace. He pointed out that should the Palestinians renege and resume their terrorist attacks the IDF could be depended upon to deal with the situation. Rabin, who received considerable bad press in December 1987 during the first intifada when he served as Defense Minister and ordered the IDF “to break the bones” of the Palestinian rock and Molotov cocktail throwers, was bent on demonstrating more leniency towards the Palestinians as Prime Minister.
By October 1995, Rabin understood that he had been duped by Arafat and the Palestinians. He was also facing the reality of the upcoming 1996 election campaign and thus returned to his role as “Mr. Security,” declaring in his October 5, 1995 speech in the Knesset, “Here, in the land of Israel, we returned and built a nation. Here, in the land of Israel, we established a state. The land of the prophets, which bequeathed to the world the values of morality, law and justice, was, after two thousand years, restored to its lawful owners – the members of the Jewish people. On its land, we have built an exceptional national home and state.”
Rabin figured out that if the Labor party were to be re-elected, it had to win over the religious parties in order for him to form a coalition government. He thus laid out a vision that was centrist, if not downright nationalistic. He said, “We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.”
Repeating what he shared with this reporter four-years earlier, Rabin announced, “We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines,” and stated that a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty, is a first and foremost condition.
In language that would befit a “right-winger,” Rabin declared in the Knesset, “The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley. The establishment of blocs of settlements in Judea and Samaria, like the one in Gush Katif.”
And, he added, “We…committed ourselves before the Knesset, not to uproot a single settlement in the framework of the interim agreement, and not to hinder building for natural growth.”
Itzhak Rabin was an Israeli patriot who spent his life serving his country and people. Staring into his intense blue eyes, this reporter came away believing in Rabin’s sincerity. Rabin believed in doing everything possible for peace without endangering Israel’s security. Once he figured out Arafat’s duplicity, Rabin had no illusions about the Oslo Accords.
Itzhak Rabin sought above all the legacy of a peacemaker (He made peace with Jordan on October 26, 1994). Yet, he will be forever remembered as the Chief-of-Staff that won the Six Day War, and his enduring legacy is that of Israel’s “Mr. Security.”
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