Late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin (L) walking alongside former US president Bill Clinton and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, displayed at an exhibition marking the 20th anniversary of Rabin's assassination, on October 26, 2015 in Tel Aviv
Late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin (L) walking alongside former US president Bill Clinton and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, displayed at an exhibition marking the 20th anniversary of Rabin's assassination, on October 26, 2015 in Tel Aviv © Jack Guez - AFP
Late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin (L) walking alongside former US president Bill Clinton and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, displayed at an exhibition marking the 20th anniversary of Rabin's assassination, on October 26, 2015 in Tel Aviv
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AFP
Last updated: January 1, 1970

Israel divisions highlighted on anniversary of Rabin murder

Israeli commemorations to mark 20 years since premier Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated left politicians bickering over his legacy Monday as the latest wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence highlighted the failures in solving the decades-old conflict.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a special session of the Israeli parliament that the peace-seeking Rabin "knew that we could not make peace without guarantees of security".

He praised the "intelligence" of a man who "knew how to fight terrorism without making concessions and that is what we are going to do".

"Palestinians are not ready to end the conflict and give up on their dream of a Palestinian state in the place of Israel," said the rightwing leader.

But opposition Labour party chief Isaac Hertzog took to the podium to fiercly criticise Netanyahu for his policies "which have had no visible success in 10 years".

"He who takes to heart the destiny of Israel must stop cultivating the illusion of a great Israel in which the Jews decide on the fate of millions of Palestinians. That will not happen," he said.

He said that it was Rabin's efforts to secure a solution which would see a Jewish state and Palestinian state living side-by-side that saw him branded a traitor.

"There were three gunshots and Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated," Herzog said as lawmakers hurled abuse at him from the benches.

Netanyahu is often accused by leftist political parties of indirectly stoking hatred at opposition protests against the landmark 1993 Oslo Accords, where extremists brandished images of Rabin in a Nazi uniform and chanted "Death to Rabin".

The agreement saw Israel recognise the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, Palestinian recognition of the state of Israel, and plans for Israel to give up territory in the West Bank and Gaza.

Rabin was gunned down on November 4, 1995 by rightwing Jewish extremist Yigal Amir who hoped to derail the agreement.

Israel is holding commemorations this week according to the Jewish calendar.

The Oslo Accords lies in tatters after repeated failed efforts to solve the conflict, the most recent of which collapsed in April 2014 amid bitter recriminations on both sides.

Rabin's daughter Dalia attended another ceremony where she deplored the fact that no lessons had been learned since her father's murder.

"Since this murder, I am confronted with the darkest hatred in Israeli society, this hatred which feeds incitement to violence that created the atmosphere in which a prime minister was killed," she said.

President Reuven Rivlin said on Sunday that the anniversary should be a "day of self-examination for the Israeli people, a time of self-examination for Israeli democracy".

Israeli-Palestinians tensions, always simmering, have surged recently in a wave of Palestinian knife and gun attacks, as well as clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

Since the start of this month, 55 Palestinians and one Israeli Arab have died in clashes or while carrying out attacks.

Eight Israelis have died in attacks. One Israeli Jew and one Eritrean have been killed after being mistaken for attackers.

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