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Settlers celebrate tenth anniversary of Rabin murder (LONDON TIMES) From Stephen Farrell in Tapuakh 11/04/05) Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,251-1856469,00.html
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FAR BELOW the jagged Samarian boulders and winding scar of the West Bank razor fence, secular Tel Aviv lies just out of sight and in another world.
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It was there ten years ago today that Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a Jewish religious fanatic enraged at the Israeli Prime Minister’s decision to sign the historic Oslo peace accord with the Palestinians.
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From today, many will gather to mourn the Nobel laureate, who is widely regarded as a martyr to peace. But not here.
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In the hills of the occupied West Bank, the ultra-religious settlers of Tapuakh celebrate the assassin and voice contempt for Rabin. “Of course he deserved it,” Koby, a 19-year-old, American-born settler, said. “He was a traitor.”
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It is a minority view, but not a unique one. In one poll last week, nearly 20 per cent of Israel’s population said that Yigal Amir should be pardoned.
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Disturbingly for Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister, 83 per cent believe that there are more Amirs waiting to strike, particularly after the pullout from Gaza that infuriated ultranationalists who believe it is Jewish by divine right. The bus stops around Tapuakh bear slogans warning: “Sharon, Rabin is waiting,” and extremist rabbis recently invoked a mystical death curse against Mr Sharon known as the pulsa denura (whip of fire).
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These are the Jewish extremists who annually celebrate the 1994 slaughter of 29 Palestinian worshippers by their fellow settler Baruch Goldstein, and admire Eden Natan-Zeda, the anti-disengagement deserter from Tapuakh who shot dead four Israeli Arabs on a bus in August. Their stark outlook is rooted in religious certainty that dismisses democracy, peace treaties and negotiations as the works of man, irrelevant beside God’s biblical promise of the Land of Israel to Abraham and his descendants.
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Many are American immigrants loyal to Meir Kahane, the assassinated New York rabbi whose outlawed Kach movement, advocating the expulsion of Palestinians, lives on in groups such as Revava and Gdud Haivri (The Jewish Legion). Well known to Israel’s intelligence services, his adherents relish the notoriety conferred by police summonses and confinement orders that they produce with grins from within voluminous prayer shawls. Newly arrested for putting up posters of Natan- Zada, the killer on the bus, 26-year-old Yaakov Fauci insists that Rabin was a traitor.
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“Rabin got what he deserved. The man was not only a murderer but a danger to Israel,” he intoned. About Sharon he is more careful, saying that he felt betrayed by the former settler champion but directing his alienation towards the system, not its leader. “It shows the danger of religious people putting their faith in secular leaders,” Fauci said.
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Far from showing remorse, the family of Rabin’s killer have called for his release, issuing a petition. “The security situation in Israel has proven that Yitzhak Rabin committed a crime against his people when he surrendered our lives and safety to our most bitter enemy,” a statement on their website read.
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Rabin’s daughter, Dalia, can hardly bear to talk about the Amirs’ campaign. “It feels awful,” she said. “I refrain from really commenting on this family.” However, she acknowledges that the secular-religious divide exposed by his assassination remains a reality. (Copyright 2005 Times Newspapers Ltd. 11/04/05)
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