On this day, exactly 20 years ago, the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. It’s interesting that he was murdered by a right wing Israeli extremist. But it is hardly surprising. The truth is that for a long time, the Israeli government has suffered from the same thing that the modern Republican Party here suffers from. They cried wolf so much that they’ve created a huge base of the population that actually believes their extremist rhetoric. In fact, as far as I can tell, Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the those true believers. And that makes him (and Israel) very dangerous.
Here in the United States, the behavior of Israel doesn’t make much sense. They continue to allow (encourage, actually) the building of illegal settlements. I don’t think this is primarily because they are interested in destroying any chance of the two state solution. I think that — just like the Republican elites and their crazy base — the Israeli government is afraid of their settlers. They are afraid (with good reason) that if the government holds the settlers accountable, the settlers will start to commit acts of terrorism.
I know this seems unthinkable here in the United States. But there is a long history of Israeli terrorism — and I’m not even talking about the government attacks on Palestinian civilian populations. As bad as that is, it isn’t technically terrorism. But before Israel was officially recognized and in its early days, Zionists most certainly did practice terrorism. And there is little doubt that the settlers — who are among the most extreme and racist people in Israel — would use terrorism if they weren’t simply given everything they want.
Rabin was murdered because of his part in the Oslo Accords. And although his murder was given a life sentence, people in Israel still campaign to get him released. I’m all for mercy, but this is just nonsense. There is a sizable portion of the people of Israel who would simply commit a genocide to get rid of the Palestinians to get control of the whole region. I’m not saying that there aren’t Palestinians who think the same thing. But in this country, it is never the Israelis who are presented in this way.