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6 Nov, 2010

Remembering The Day The World Really Changed

By Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor, Travel Impact Newswire

Sept 11, 2001, also known as 9/11, is often termed “the day that changed the world”. It is time to revisit that. Two days ago, in the midst of all the other global chaos, no-one even noticed the 15th anniversary of the day the world really changed.

On 4 November 1995, 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. And, for the sake of future generations, I will make sure no-one ever forgets.

I was the only journalist from Asia in Tel Aviv that fateful night. Just hours before his murder, 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.

A few hours later, Rabin was dead.

Today, the Jewish terrorist Yigal Amir can claim outright victory. His goal was to end the pursuit of peace. Who says fundamentalist fanatic terrorists don’t succeed? Amir, and all those who backed, indoctrinated, provoked, incited and instigated him, have proven that they do.

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.

As former President Bill Clinton writes in his column in the New York Times below, had Rabin lived, much of the mayhem we see today may not have transpired.

In the 1990s, I was the only Asian travel journalist to enthusiastically attend the joint press conferences of the Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and Egyptian tourism ministers at international travel trade shows like the WTM London and ITB Berlin 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 awash 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 incontrovertible and indisputable fact is that a Jewish leader who had seen war and wanted to make peace was shot by a Jew. If the killer has achieved his goals, why aren’t Jews the world over indulging in some heavy-duty soul-searching about the role of fundamentalist fanatic terrorists in their midst?

Amongst the many rich, powerful Jews around, I see 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 many Jewish politicians, neocons and academics whose character 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 its six million victims. Yet, Jews themselves are besmirching those memories. Demanding a blanket license to kill in the name of “security” even while craving sympathy for the descendants of the six million dead is a contradiction in terms.

The blockade of Gaza, condemned by the world as illegal and cruel, is often compared to the Berlin Blockade. 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 Israeli-built 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 Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu.

The role of home-grown Jewish terrorists like Yigal Amir in bringing the world to its present state must not be forgotten or discounted. Today, 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.

Jews need to start cleaning out the fundamentalist fanatic terrorists in their own ranks. The lone Jewish terrorist who struck on 4 Nov 1995 did 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.

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