LAZY AND FALSE NOS­TAL­GIA FOR THE RABIN YEARS

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT - LET­TERS

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

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