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Israel marks 15th anniversary of Rabin's assassination

10-21-2010 10:11 BJT

JERUSALEM, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Israel's leadership gathered late Wednesday at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem to mark the 15th anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) sits with Israel's President
Shimon Peres during a memorial ceremony at Mount Herzl military cemetery in
Jerusalem marking the anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister
Yitzhak Rabin, Oct. 20, 2010. Israel's leadership gathered late Wednesday
at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem to mark the 15th anniversary
of the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
(Xinhua/POOL/Alex Kolomoisky)

Taking center stage among the speakers who eulogized Rabin at the official state memorial service was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said he shares Rabin's approach to peace-making.

"A lot has changed in Israel and the world in the years since your death, both good and bad," Netanyahu said, "it is likely that you (Rabin) would not have been completely surprised to know that we have not yet reached the longed-for peace."

"You were skeptical and careful, respectful and thoughtful, and determined to continue down the path to peace. Though events over the years more often than not increase doubts, I am a partner to your approach that we must continue trying to reach peace," Netanyahu said.

Rabin, commander of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the 1967 War and Israel's fifth premier, was shot by a radical right-wing Israeli during a peace rally in Tel Aviv on Nov. 4, 1995, and died of his wounds shortly after arriving in the hospital.

His assassin, Yigal Amir, told investigators that he was opposed to Rabin's signing of the Oslo Peace Accords with late Palestinian National Authority (PNA) chairman Yasser Arafat, which would eventually entail an Israeli withdrawal from most of the West Bank.

In the months leading to the assassination, Israeli society was torn between Rabin's supporters, dubbed "the Peace Camp," and Israelis who rejected the peace accords as endangering Israel's security and its future. Stormy mass demonstrations calling for Rabin's demise were routine, with protesters holding up photo- shopped images of the premier in keffiyeh (traditional Arab head garb) emblazoned with "traitor."

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