- Friday, November 5, 1999
An assassination, not a conspiracy
Four years have passed since the
assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and, as has happened every
year since, questions are once more being raised concerning the murder that
are leading the public to stray from the main issues involved. Again we are
hearing people hint that the Shin Bet internal security service was
responsible for Rabin's death, not because it failed to effectively protect
the prime minister but because it employed an undercover agent, Avishai
Raviv, who encouraged Yigal Amir to carry out the assassination. There are
even those who are going so far as to accuse elements in the Shin Bet itself
of having planned the assassination.
This past week, MK Michael Eitan
(Likud) distributed a document that records the minutes of a meeting that
was held in the offices of the state prosecution and whose participants
considered whether or not to put Raviv on trial. Eitan regards the attempt
to prevent Raviv's indictment as an expression of support for his
controversial activities or as an effort to conceal a major, tragic blunder.
If the document were fully publicized in the media, everyone would be able
to see that it contains nothing that could reinforce the suspicions of
rightwing elements. It is regrettable that the High Court of Justice has
banned the document's publication and has therefore inadvertently opened up
a Pandora's box of superfluous, malicious accusations.
What was known to the Shamgar
commission and to the general public about the Rabin assassination remains
in effect. The state prosecution and the Shin Bet opposed Raviv's indictment
not because they wanted to cover up his actions but because they believed
that undercover agents working for the Shin Bet should be given full support
so that it would be possible to recruit such agents in the future as well.
Questions such as whether Raviv stopped playing the role of undercover agent
and instead became an agent provocateur or whether the Shin Bet should
perhaps have severed ties with him at an earlier stage smack of hindsight.
At any rate, now that it has been decided that Raviv should stand trial, it
is pointless to hurl wild accusations at innocent parties. Whatever has
remained a mystery in this whole affair will come to light in the course of
The abhorrent conspiracy theory -
according to which elements close to the prime minister or inside the Shin
Bet were accomplices to, or even planned, the assassination - was carefully
studied by the Shamgar commission, which rejected that theory out of hand.
If that theory had even one grain of truth, Amir would no doubt have used it
in his defense and would not have volunteered to serve a life sentence for
someone else's crime. The Rabin family has raised questions for which no
clearcut answers have been provided, but that does not mean that the
commission's conclusions should be altered.
Justice Shamgar stated yesterday that
he himself would like to know who screamed, at the time that the shots were
fired, "They're blanks, only blanks!" Although the commission heard many
witnesses on this point, it was unable to come up with any answers. Amir
denies that it was he who screamed out "They're blanks, only blanks!" in
order to confuse Rabin's bodyguards. However, it is quite possible that Amir
is lying. The dread responsibility for the assassination remains on the
shoulders of the person who pulled the trigger. The rabbis who ruled that,
from the standpoint of Jewish law, Rabin could be considered a persecutor
and therefore subject to a death sentence, were not charged with criminal
responsibility. Nor was this charge directed against the entire ideological
camp that declared with such disgusting nonchalance that anyone who
surrenders even a part of the ancient Jewish homeland is a traitor.
During the period of the Israeli
occupation of Palestinian territories, this camp assigned top priority to
the "redemption of the Land of Israel" and to that land's sanctification and
regarded those two values as taking precedence over both the concept of the
sacredness of human life and the principles of democracy.
Amir fired the fatal shots that killed
Yitzhak Rabin in order to put an end to the peace process and almost
succeeded in attaining that goal. Let us hope that no one will ever decide
to follow in Amir's footsteps.
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