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Netanyahu says those who opposed Oslo peace deal not to blame for Rabin killing

PM, who has long been accused of whipping up incitement in lead-up to assassination, says attempts to put blame on anyone but the killer are ‘forbidden’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands infront of the tombstone of Late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's during a memorial service marking 23 years since the assasination, held at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on October 21, 2018. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL )
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands infront of the tombstone of Late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's during a memorial service marking 23 years since the assasination, held at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on October 21, 2018. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL )

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that politicians and Israelis who opposed the Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians should not be held accountable for the killing of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

“The one who is responsible for the terrible murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is the despicable killer Yigal Amir and a handful of extremists,” Netanyahu tweeted Sunday night on the eve of the 24th anniversary of Rabin’s death.

“Attempts to put the blame on more than half the nation and the leaders who opposed the Oslo Accords for this crime committed by the murderer Yigal Amir, was and is forbidden,” he wrote.

Rabin was murdered on November 4, 1995, by Amir, an extremist Jew who was opposed to the Oslo Accords and the handing over control of portions of the West Bank to the Palestinians as part of the landmark peace agreement.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin speaks with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat before a news conference Sept. 25, 1996, at the Erez crossing into the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Netanyahu has long been accused of playing a part in the incitement against Rabin. The premier has regularly rebuffed the allegations and has characterized them as a form of “political assassination.”

In the weeks before the assassination, Netanyahu, then head of the opposition, and other senior Likud members attended a right-wing political rally in Jerusalem where protesters branded Rabin a “traitor,” “murderer” and “Nazi” for signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians earlier that year.

On Saturday tens of thousands of Israelis attended a rally to commemorate the assassination.

Speaking at the event, prime minister-designate Benny Gantz vowed that Israel will “defeat the haters” and never capitulate to hatred. But he said some of the country’s current politicians were again trading in hatred and incitement.

Gantz, the Blue and White party chairman currently attempting to form a government following September’s elections, was the keynote speaker at the memorial event in Rabin Square. The square was renamed to honor the prime minister after he was gunned down there after addressing a rally in support of his government’s peace efforts.

Israelis attend a rally marking 24 years since the assassination of late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on November 2, 2019 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

“The State of Israel will never surrender to hatred,” Gantz vowed. “The children of Israel will no longer grow up in a state some of whose leaders sanctify hatred,” he went on, without naming names.

“I won’t let hatred win. You won’t let hatred win. Israel will defeat the haters. Israel will defeat the hatred,” he promised to cheers and applause.

Gantz said Rabin was murdered because of divisions, incitement, and hatred whipped up against him. “Twenty-four years, Yitzhak Rabin is no longer with us, but incitement rears its ugly head… and hatred has again become a dangerous weapon in the hands of politicians without limits.”

While it seemed Gantz could be referring to Netanyahu, the former army chief nevertheless went on to say that incitement and hatred were “not limited” to one demographic segment or political camp.

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