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Bill Clinton Urges Israelis To Finish What Yitzhak Rabin Started

By Ofira Koopmans, dpa (TNS)

TEL AVIV, Israel — Former U.S. President Bill Clinton urged Israelis to continue supporting the moribund peace process with the Palestinians, despite the setbacks of the past two decades.

“Every day you have to choose hope over fear, empowerment over acceptance, confidence over cynicism,” he said at a mass rally in central Tel Aviv, marking 20 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Thousands of left-wing and centrist Israelis attended the rally.

President Barack Obama, in a recorded video message, also called on Israelis to continue their support for the two-state solution and talks with the Palestinians, despite a new wave of violence.

“I still believe what I said two years ago, that peace is necessary, just and possible,” Obama said. “Peace is necessary because it is the only way to bring true and lasting security for Israelis and Palestinians.”

Clinton, who sealed the 1993 interim Oslo accords two years before Rabin died, said it was up to the younger generation to finish his legacy.

“Ten years ago when I was honored to stand in this space, I said if I could miraculously bring Rabin back to life and he were standing here with me, he’d say: ‘Enough with this bragging about me. Let’s get back to work and finish what I gave my life to do.’ And so all of you here must decide … how to finish his legacy, for the last chapter must be written by the people he gave his life for.”

On November 5, 1995, Rabin was shot dead on the same square where people gathered Saturday night. His assassin was Yigal Amir, a radical Jew opposed to his peace moves with the Palestinians.

Two decades after the assassination, many Israelis have become deeply disillusioned with the persistently deadlocked peace process, which has since lost widespread support.

There have even been statements by some on the far-right endorsing Amir’s actions, to the outrage of Israelis elsewhere on the political spectrum.

Security was tight at Saturday’s rally, as it came during the worst spell of street violence in years. Police used buses two block off all accesses to the central square, which since the assassination was renamed Rabin Square.

Clinton and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin spoke behind bulletproof glass.

Dozens of knife attacks against Israelis have been committed by Palestinians since early October. Israeli security forces have used tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition against Palestinian protesters throwing rocks and gasoline bombs at flash points in the West Bank and along the Gaza border.

In the latest incident of violence earlier Saturday, Israeli border policemen shot dead an 18-year-old Palestinian at a crossing points from the northern West Bank into Israel, police said.

They thought the Palestinian was raising a knife against them and when he did not obey calls to freeze, opened fire, spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

(c)2015 Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks during the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York, September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Netanyahu Says Hitler Didn’t Really Want To Kill The Jews — Palestinians Made Him Do It!

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a remarkable comment in a speech Tuesday to the 37th Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, while speaking of the historical conflicts between early Jewish settlers and the Palestinians.

From the transcript posted at the Prime Minister’s Office site:

And this attack and other attacks on the Jewish community in 1920, 1921, 1929, were instigated by a call of the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was later sought for war crimes in the Nuremberg trials because he had a central role in fomenting the final solution. He flew to Berlin. Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, “If you expel them, they’ll all come here.” “So what should I do with them?” he asked. He said, “Burn them.” And he was sought in, during the Nuremberg trials for prosecution. He escaped it and later died of cancer, after the war, died of cancer in Cairo.

It’s not often you hear the argument made in international dialogue that Hitler wasn’t such a bad guy — he was just following orders, perhaps?

Hat tip to Gregg Carlstrom:

Update: As the Israeli liberal newspaper Haaretz points out, Netanyahu’s speech was not only morally bankrupt — it was a historical falsehood. The meeting between Hitler and al-Husseini occurred in November 1941 — at which time the Holocaust (and many other Nazi war crimes) were already proceeding.

The paper adds: “The claim that Husseini was the one to initiate the extermination of European Jewry had been suggested by a number of historians at the fringes of Holocaust research, but was rejected by most accepted scholars.”

Photo: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the 37th Zionist Congress in Jerusalem. Photo via the Prime Minister’s Office.

Violence Intensifies In Jerusalem, West Bank, Raising Security Concerns

By Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Violence intensified in Jerusalem and the West Bank on Sunday after Israelis were targeted in two stabbing attacks and a Palestinian was killed in a clash with Israeli troops, officials said.

A Palestinian man stabbed and wounded an Israeli teenager in Jerusalem, just hours after another knife-wielding attacker killed an off-duty Israeli soldier and a rabbi, nearby in the walled Old City, police said.

Officers shot dead both attackers, a police spokesman said, and Israel’s government announced it was barring Palestinians from entering the ancient district for two days, apart from people who lived there.

Later in the day, an 18-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed during a clash with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank town of Tulkarm, hospital officials said. The Israeli military said it was looking into the report.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met security chiefs on Sunday to discuss more action to tackle rising violence in East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, and the West Bank, areas that Israel captured in a 1967 war.

In broadcast remarks, Netanyahu said the new measures would include speeding up the razing of homes of Palestinian attackers and banning those who incite violence from the Old City.

The bloodshed – which included a drive-by shooting that killed an Israeli couple in the West Bank on Thursday and an arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents in July – has triggered concerns of wider escalation.

Israel’s best-selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, published a banner front page headline reading “The third Intifada”, though the violence has not reached the levels of past Palestinian uprisings.

On Saturday, another Palestinian stabbed to death an off-duty Israeli soldier walking with his wife and children and a rabbi who rushed to their aid, on a street near Judaism’s Western Wall, police said.

Islamic Jihad later said the attack was carried out by one of its members.[ID:nL5N1230QH] Its al-Quds Brigades said the fatal stabbing was a “heroic attack” in response to “continued Zionist aggression” at Islamic holy sites.

In violence in another West Bank city called Jenin, Israeli forces on a raid to arrest “wanted men involved in terrorist activities” were confronted by a crowd of Palestinians that threw explosives at them, the army said.

A local hospital director said 22 Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition.

Violence also erupted in the south when Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into Israel, causing no injuries or damage. Israel usually retaliates for such attacks with air strikes in Gaza.

Tensions have been further inflamed by frequent clashes between Palestinian rock-throwers and Israeli security forces at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Palestinians have said they fear increasing visits by Jewish groups to al-Aqsa compound, revered by Jews as the site of Biblical temples, are eroding Muslim religious control there.

Israel has pledged to maintain Muslim prayer rights at al-Aqsa but has frequently banned young Muslim men from entering the area on security grounds.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.

(Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Editing by Jon Boyle and Eric Walsh)

A Palestinian youth carries a flag during clashes in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya October 4, 2015. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Top Reads For News Junkies: ‘A History Of The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’

In the eleventh hour of his campaign to be re-elected as prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu assured citizens that under his watch there would be no Palestinian state, at great cost to his standing on the international stage and perhaps moreA History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflictby political scientist Mark Tessler, is an exhaustive, thorough, unbiased examination of one of the most intractable, destructive clashes of our time. It is now in its second edition; there will almost certainly be a third.

You can purchase the book here.