Rabin was no saint, but he changed, and was gunned down for it. When the U.S. left refuses to remember his peacemaking with the Palestinians, they hand victory to Netanyahu and the Israeli right
In the mid-1990s, I spent most of my working hours talking to Palestinians in the West Bank. I covered Palestinian affairs for Haaretz, and during that period I was speaking day-to-day with more Palestinians than with fellow Israelis.
On the night of Nov. 4, 1995, having just heard from the news desk editor that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had been shot, I called Palestinian officials for reaction. I was on the phone with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat when I heard on Israel Radio that Rabin’s spokesman was about to make a statement.
As Eitan Haber hushed the crowed, I started translating for Erekat: "The government of Israel announces in dismay, in great sadness, and in deep sorrow, the death of Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Yitzhak Rabin, murdered by an assassin tonight in Tel Aviv."
As I cried, I could hear Saeb’s voice crack. I had known Dr. Erekat for years, a relationship that began when he was the editorial writer of the Palestinian daily al-Quds, briefing Israeli reporters on Palestinian politics while sharing a smoke on the steps of the newspaper’s East Jerusalem office. Over the years, we laughed a lot together. Now we were crying.