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4 Jul, 2010

Israel continues to shatter Rabin’s dreams, and fulfill those of his terrorist killer

Originally Published: 04 July 2010

Sept 11, 2001, also known as 9/11, is often termed “the day that changed the world”. It is time to revisit that. In a few months, the world will mark the real day it changed.

On 4 November 1995, exactly 15 years ago this year, a Jewish fundamentalist fanatic terrorist name Yigal Amir assassinated former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and co-signatory of the Camp David peace accords. This is not an event that many people remember or care about. But I do.

I was the only journalist from Asia in Tel Aviv that fateful night. Just hours before his death, I heard Rabin tell a gathering of international hoteliers, and later a rally of young people in the Tel Aviv square, that he wanted future generations to avoid the wasteful destruction of war and seek to live in peace.

That message resonated with me because my son was 14 years old at the time. In the square that fateful night, I saw hundreds of young Israelis not much older than my son. I am sure their parents didn’t want their children being sent off to die in some stupid war.

Today, Yigal Amir can claim outright victory in achieving his aims. Who says fundamentalist fanatic terrorists don’t succeed? Amir, and all those who backed, provoked, incited and instigated him, have proven that they do.

Israel continues to shatter the dreams of Rabin, and instead fulfil the dreams of its own home-grown arch-terrorist. For every unarmed Palestinian killed by an Israeli soldier, Yigal Amir wins. For every Palestinian mother who gives birth at an Israeli checkpoint, Yigal Amir wins. For every Palestinian who is deprived of an education or medical treatment, Yigal Amir wins. For every Palestinian olive grove uprooted by an Israeli settler, Yigal Amir wins.

Had Rabin lived, much of the mayhem we see today may not have transpired.

In the early 1990s, I was the only Asian travel journalist to attend the joint press conferences of the Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and Egyptian tourism ministers and hear them speak passionately about the fruits of peace in the Holy Land.

Had those dreams been realised, that entire area would have been overflowing with investment, tourism and trade. Instead, the cancerous clash in Palestine in a mere 15 years has regressed into the world’s only truly globalised, systemic political conflict – with no end in sight.

It has in one way or another contributed to global terrorism, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and, probably not too far away, more war in Iran. Countless lives have been lost, and billions spent on armaments even as UN holds meeting after wasteful meeting ruing the lack of funds for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Hasn’t the world had enough?

Although all the blame is heaped on the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, the fact is that a Jewish leader who had seen war and wanted to make peace was shot by a Jew who wanted kill the peace process. If the killer goals have been achieved, why aren’t Jews the world over indulging in some heavy-duty soul-searching about the role of fundamentalist fanatic terrorists in their midst?

Who is the real Jew? And whose side are the Jews on? The terrorist assassin, or the man he killed?

Amongst the many rich, powerful Jews around, I see many inventors, investors, politicians, media magnates, scientists and businessmen. But I also see people like Paul Wolfowitz, the widely acknowledged “architect of the Iraq war”, a war in which hundreds perished in pursuit of non-existent weapons of mass destruction, the most blatant lie of the century. I see Jews like George Soros, Bernie Madoff, and numerous others who come close to the scheming Jew depicted in the William Shakespeare epic “The Merchant of Venice.”

Today, the world is reminded ad nauseam about the Holocaust, with all the sanctimonious speech-making that seeks to honour the memories of those who perished in it. Yet, Jews themselves are besmirching those memories.

The blockade of Gaza, condemned by the world as illegal and cruel, is often compared to the Berlin Blockade by the Nazis. The treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories is often compared to the former apartheid state of South Africa. The end of the Cold War may have seen the end of the Berlin wall, but a much higher, longer, sturdier wall has come up in occupied Palestine. The world denounces the nuclear programme of Iran, but pays scant attention to Israel’s stockpile of nuclear weapons and the hounding of nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu.

The role of Jewish terrorists like Yigal Amir in bringing the world to its present state cannot be discounted. Israel is utterly devoid of leaders like Rabin, people who will both preach peace and practise it, treat Palestinians like human beings, give them the independent, sovereign state they deserve, and make the hard decisions needed to save future generations from war and violence.

Much depends on whether the right-minded Jews can persuade the Israelis to pursue a fair, just and balanced peace.

The Israelis want peace only on their own terms. The game-plan is clearly to subjugate, suppress and humiliate the Arab world, ensure that all the Arab and Islamic leaders are mere toadies of the West and Israel, and put pressure on the Muslim world at large by constantly confronting it with the bogeyman of “Islamic terrorism.”

But that path is guaranteed to lead to more violence. And Jewish/Israeli groups need to start thinking seriously about where and how they see it all ending.

Although a red-shirt style backlash is very likely against Israel’s complete lack of accountability for its global actions, the spiritual dimension is even more important.

Jews working to ensure the triumph of terrorist assassins like Yigal Amir have no right to preach to the world about the memories of the Holocaust. Indeed, that entire argument is loathsome; demanding a license to kill in the name of “security” even while craving sympathy for the descendants of the six million dead is an absolute travesty.

Jews need to start cleaning out the fundamentalist fanatic terrorists in their own ranks. The lone Jewish terrorist who struck on 4 Nov 1995 has done far more damage to humanity than the Islamic terrorists who struck on 11 Sept 2001.

Switching those widely perceived dates on which the world changed forever may be a good way to chart a new direction.