Thoughts on Yitzhak Rabin’s Assassination, a Quarter-Century On

On the Jewish calendar, today is the 25th anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzḥak Rabin’s assassination at the hands of a fellow Jewish Israeli. Rabin, after a long and impressive career in the military and in politics, had not long beforehand signed the Oslo Accords, and was murdered by a zealous opponent of that decision. Reflecting on the occasion, David Horovitz writes:

The peace effort collapsed in the aftermath of the Rabin assassination. For what it’s worth, looking back, this writer believes it would have collapsed had he lived—foundering on the duplicity of Yair Arafat, destroyed by the terrorism the PLO leader never abandoned; Eitan Haber, Rabin’s most trusted aide, once told me why he disagreed, though he stressed that this was, obviously, only “an assessment.”

What is clear is that Israel hauled itself back from the abyss into which it stared on the night of November 4, 1995. We internalized that our country simply would not survive if it continued to tear itself apart from within, not in this unforgiving region.

A quarter-century later, our streets are again full of demonstrators and counter-demonstrators—reviling and championing a prime minister, with sometimes vicious rhetoric and a worrying clatter of confrontation and violence. . . . We’ve been there, came back from the brink, and owe it to ourselves and our tiny, precious country to remember how greatly what unites us outweighs our divisions, and act accordingly.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israeli politics, Oslo Accords, Yitzhak Rabin

Would an American-Backed UN Resolution Calling for a Temporary Ceasefire Undermine Israel?

Yesterday morning, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution, sponsored by Algeria, that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. As an alternative, the American delegation has been circulating a draft resolution calling for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released.” Benny Avni comments:

While the Israel Defense Force may be able to maintain its Gaza operations under that provision, the U.S.-proposed resolution also warns the military against proceeding with its plan to enter the southern Gaza town of Rafah. Israel says that a critical number of Hamas fighters are hiding inside tunnels and in civilian buildings at Rafah, surrounded by a number of the remaining 134 hostages.

In one paragraph, the text of the new American resolution says that the council “determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries, which would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.”

In addition to the paragraph about Rafah, the American-proposed resolution is admonishing Israel not to create a buffer zone inside Gaza. Such a narrow zone, as wide as two miles, is seen by many Israelis as a future protection against infiltration from Gaza.

Perhaps, as Robert Satloff argues, the resolution isn’t intended to forestall an IDF operation in Rafah, but only—consistent with prior statements from the Biden administration—to demand that Israel come up with a plan to move civilians out of harms way before advancing on the city.

If that is so, the resolution wouldn’t change much if passed. But why is the U.S. proposing an alternative ceasefire resolution at all? Strategically, Washington has nothing to gain from stopping Israel, its ally, from achieving a complete victory over Hamas. Why not instead pass a resolution condemning Hamas (something the Security Council has not done), calling for the release of hostages, and demanding that Qatar and Iran stop providing the group with arms and funds? Better yet, demand that these two countries—along with Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon—arrest Hamas leaders on their territory.

Surely Russia would veto such a resolution, but still, why not go on the offensive, rather than trying to come up with another UN resolution aimed at restraining Israel?

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship, United Nations