LAZY AND FALSE NOSTALGIA FOR THE RABIN YEARS
Jonathan Freedland’s rose-tinted account of Yitzhak Rabin’s legacy ( JC Oct 30) demonstrates precisely why the Israeli peace camp has continued to shrink.
Freedland claims that, before Rabin’s murder, “surely peace would come,” but 1993’s Oslo Accords were met by a barrage of Palestinian terror attacks inside Israel, including the Dizengoff Street bus bombing in Tel Aviv in October 1994 that killed 22 civilians. Oslo and the later Oslo II accord passed in the Knesset with only 61 votes, the barest minimum, while some polls showed Rabin down 13 points to Benjamin Netanyahu in elections due for 1996. The reality is that Israelis were massively divided on his policies.
In addition, Freedland ignores Palestinian rejectionism. Labour prime minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat a peace deal in 2000 and 2001, but Arafat’s answer was the devastating Second Intifada. Ariel Sharon withdrew Israel from Gaza in 2005, and we got Hamas rule in return. Centrist PM Ehud Olmert offered Mahmoud Abbas a two-state deal in 2008 but Abbas walked away without making a counter-offer.
Even Netanyahu accepted President Obama’s framework document for continuing negotiations in 2014, albeit with reservations, but Abbas rejected it and instead launched a unilateral bid for statehood. Until the Israeli left and peace camp drops the lazy and false nostalgia for the Rabin years, and formulates fresh thinking for Israeli voters that recognises the hard realities of our region, it will continue to lose election after election, surely the opposite of what Freedland wishes to see. Gavin Gross Tel Aviv 62001, Israel