Secretary of State John Kerry marked the anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin with a call for the Israelis to “keep trying” on the administration’s goal of a two-state solution.
Kerry noted in a statement released by the State Department that Rabin “devoted his life to defending Israel.”
“Today, on this solemn anniversary, we express our profound appreciation for his contribution to the cause of peace. And we honor his vision that would create a better future for both Israelis and the Palestinians: two states living side-by-side in peace and security,” he said.
“I will never forget standing in Rabin Square two years ago. Just meters from where I stood, in 1995, Prime Minister Rabin and my good friend Shimon Peres stood on stage at a peace rally and sang the inspiring lyrics of Shir LaShalom: ‘Don’t whisper a prayer – sing a song of peace in a loud voice.’ Rabin’s example taught us all that we have a voice, and all of us must lend our full voices to the cause of peace and not conflict, singing loudly for love and not hate.”
Kerry added that Rabin “dared to take risks for peace because he knew well the alternative, and believed it was essential for the future security and prosperity of Israel and of the region.”
“Rabin is gone, but his legacy endures as a challenge and an inspiration to us all,” he continued. “Recent events and violence in the region underscore the urgency of advancing Rabin’s vision: a two-state solution that provides the security for Israelis and Palestinians to live their lives in peace, dignity and prosperity. Today, with the viability of that vision increasingly at risk, it is more important than ever that we remember his legacy. It compels us to keep trying. It urges us to never give up hope. As President Obama said in Jerusalem in 2013, peace is necessary, peace is just, and peace is possible.”
“Today, we honor the memory of a great prime minister, a brave man, a valiant soldier, and a wise leader who understood what was necessary for two peoples to live as neighbors. In his memory, let us recommit to use our words and our actions to advance the cause of peace.”
Speaking at a memorial for Rabin last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the lesson of the assassination is “democracy must protect itself, and therefore I recently approved administrative detentions for Jewish lawbreakers and instigators of terrorism.”
“The Torah states: ‘For we are brothers.’ Only by embracing this fundamental view will we guarantee the safety and future of Israel, which is constantly challenged by many forces but even more so today,” Netanyahu said. “The immediate challenge today is fighting against the libel and the lie, against the knife and the rock. Terrorists who are being incited attack innocent civilians in Jerusalem and other places. They do so with murderous cruelty and blood lust, and nothing else in their eyes or hearts. They are misled to believe the massive lies that we intend to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque or that we execute innocent Palestinian children and young adults.”
Netanyahu acknowledged that he and Rabin “disagreed on many things, this is no secret,” but the late leader “was free of self-recriminations.”
“Rabin never espoused the outrageous perception according to which we are guilty, even when we are the victims. He wished to put an end to the conflict and worked for peace, but very soon he also had to deal with merciless tides of terrorism,” he said. “This terrorism stems from the refusal to recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people in any borders. Essentially that was and remains the root of the conflict. This is what prevents it from being resolved.”