Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Olmert: Oslo direction was right
Speaking at special Knesset memorial session for Yitzhak Rabin, Likud Chairman Netanyahu says leadership must take stand against incitement. PM Olmert uses platform to reiterate call for major land concessions in peace talks
The Knesset on Monday held a special session to mark 13 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, which followed the state memorial ceremony. "Rabin was not motivated by foreign considerations," Opposition Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu said in his speech before the plenum, in an apparent jibe at Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
The Likud chairman slammed the recent partial broadcast of interviews with Rabin's killer, Yigal Amir. He spoke of the current generation of Israeli youth that has reached the age of Bar-Mitzvah, saying that the children born 13 years ago, "the children that grew up without Yitzhak Rabin. There is no reason for them to have to listen to the delusional rantings of the killer."
Netanyahu, who took part in a right-wing demonstration rife with incitement against Rabin a month before the latter was shot dead at the end of a peace rally in Tel Aviv, sounded markedly different in the Knesset on Monday.
"We cannot tolerate the voices that today call for attacks against the prime minister of Israel or IDF soldiers," said Netanyahu, "The lesson we all have learned is that a responsible leadership must take action against incitement. We will not allow reckless and violent instigation against law enforcement."
Olmert: Direction set by Oslo was right
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who delivered a divisive speech at the state ceremony in which he called for major concessions in the current peace talks, spoke before Netanyahu.
"I am not trying to retroactively justify the Oslo Accords, which I was against. But they defined a direction – and that direction is inevitable. After we learned to live with the guilt and pain we paid for Oslo, the ongoing terror and the disappointment with the stagnated diplomatic process, we are once again at the heart of the dispute. Now however, the time to make decisions grows closer, and we are at a precipice," said Olmert.
"Any government will have to tell the truth, and that truth, unfortunately, will require us to tear away many parts of the homeland, in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
"Anyone who thinks we can evade making a decision and continue to build ties with Arab and Muslim
countries, as we are doing today – is living in a dream," he said.
Speaking of the domestic conflict in Israel, 13 years after Rabin's murder, Olmert warned that "the incitement hasn't lessened. The instigation hasn't decreased, and the hatred hasn't faded. Israeli citizens cruelly beat Palestinians who seek to harvest their olives, as they have done for hundreds of years in the places they and their families have lived. Young Israelis, overwhelmed by messianic dreams that have no foundation in the reality of our lives – beat our soldiers, break their bones and threaten their lives – and there is no end."