As Israel remembers Rabin, Netanyahu denies he incited
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied he incited against Yitzhak Rabin in the months leading up to his 1995 assassination, as the country marked the anniversary of the former leader’s killing.
In a Facebook post, Netanyahu seized on the moment and rejected longstanding accusations that he contributed to the climate of violence before Rabin’s killing.
“Rabin’s assassination was a shocking political assassination that we all renounce. Since the assassination there have been ongoing attempts to distort the historic truth and to attribute the incitement that preceded the assassination to me,” he wrote.
He then posted old videos of his denunciations of the incitement, adding: “judge for yourselves.”
Rabin was shot dead after a peace rally on Nov. 4, 1995 by Yigal Amir, who opposed Rabin’s policy of trading land to the Palestinians for peace. Repeated attempts to make peace since then have evaporated, leaving bouts of violence in their wake.
In the months before the killing, political hard-liners branded Rabin a traitor and some extremists called for his death. Critics charged that the climate of incitement inspired Amir to kill Rabin. In one famous incident, Netanyahu, then the opposition leader, addressed a protest in downtown Jerusalem where demonstrators held posters portraying Rabin in an Arab headscarf or Nazi uniform.
Netanyahu claims he didn’t see the banners or hear violent chants.
Netanyahu vehemently opposed Rabin’s planned concessions and only grudgingly accepted the concept of a Palestinian state after taking office for a second term in 2009. He has since distanced himself from those comments and during his re-election campaign last year said he would not allow a Palestinian state on his watch.