19 years after signing the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty and 19 years after his tragic death, Yitzhak Rabin was lauded by President Barack Obama as a man of peace and courage, who “demonstrated that a commitment to communication, cooperation, and genuine reconciliation can help change the course of history.”
The following excerpts are taken from Rabin’s last public speech to the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) on October 5, 1995, just days before he was murdered, and reveal Rabin’s true pragmatic and realistic vision:
“Here, in the land of Israel, we returned and built a nation. Here, in the land of Israel, we established a state.The land of the prophets, which bequeathed to the world the values of morality, law and justice, was after two thousand years, restored to its lawful owners – the members of the Jewish people. On its land, we have built an exceptional national home and state.”
“We view the permanent solution in the framework of [the] State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.”
“We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.”
“First and foremost, united Jerusalem … as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty.
“The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley … The establishment of blocs of settlements in Judea and Samaria, like the one in Gush Katif.
“We had to choose between the whole of the land of Israel … and a state with less territory, but which would be a Jewish state. We chose to be a Jewish state.
“We … committed ourselves before the Knesset, not to uproot a single settlement in the framework of the interim agreement, and not to hinder building for natural growth.
“We are aware of the fact that the Palestinian Authority has not – up until now – honored its commitment to change the Palestinian Covenant, and that all of the promises on this matter have not been kept. I would like to bring it to the attention of the members of the house that I view these changes as a supreme test of the Palestinian Authority’s willingness and ability, and the changes required will be an important and serious touchstone vis-a’-vis the continued implementation of the agreement as a whole.”
Rabin’s vision incorporated the principles of Israel as both a Jewish state and as a state living in “peace within secure and recognized boundaries” as stated in UN Security Council Resolution 242.
November 4, 2014 | Eli E. Hertz
Edited broadcast, November 2011