"The Price of Occupation" - Speech by Yitzhak Rabin 1994
The purported title of the speech ("The Price of Occupation") was added by the editor of the book that published it; as far as can be ascertained, the speech has no title. Adding a title to an untitled speech, without informing students that it is not part of the speech, is misleading and deceptive.
Rabin made the speech when trying to convince the Knesset to adopt the Oslo Accords, the opponents of which believed would end in failure. A significant number of observers - possibly the majority - believe this concern has come to pass.
The speech is misleadingly edited. The editing creates the impression that the IDF’s estimate of ‘Palestinian’ injuries discussed in the speech is 25,000. In reality, Rabin first set forth the actual IDF estimate of 18,967 injuries and later gives his own estimate of at over 25,000.
The text of an excerpt of Rabin's speech is accurate:
..."I want to tell the truth: For 27 years, we have controlled another people that does not want our rule. The Palestinians who now number 1,800,000 have risen every morning with a burning hatred for us as Israelis and as Jews. Every morning, they awaken to a hard life and it‘s partly our fault, but not completely. It cannot be denied: the continued rule over a foreign people who does not want us has a price. There is first of all a painful price the price of constant confrontation between us and them.
For six and a half years, we have witnessed a popular Palestinian uprising against our rule, the intifada. They are trying, through violence and terrorism, to harm us, to cause us casualties and to break our spirit... Since the beginning of the uprising, 219 Israelis have been killed... A heavy price... [T]he Israelis wounded amounted to 7,872.
1,045 Palestinians have been killed by IDF and security forces, 69 have been killed by Israeli citizens, 922 Palestinians have been killed by their own people, 99 have been killed in unknown circumstances, [and] 21 have blown themselves up... handling explosives. A total of 2,156... [The IDF estimate] that at least 25,000 [Palestinians] have been wounded. Between 120,000 and 140,000 have been detained and imprisoned. These are the figures of the confrontation over the past six and a half years.
What are the options which face us after 27 years of ruling... an entity which is different from ourselves religiously, politically, nationally; another people? The first is to leave the situation as it is, to make proposals that do not have and never had a partner and there can be no agreement without a partner. To try and perpetuate the rule over another people, to continue on a course of never-ending violence and terrorism, which will bring about a political impasse. All the Government of Israel certainly since the [October 1973] Yom Kippur War have understood the danger inherent in such an impasse. Accordingly, all the governments have sought the second option. The second option is to try and find a political solution initially through agreements on the separation of forces."
The book's analysis of Rabin's speech is misleading and inaccurate. The book's analysis is in black type; our comments are in blue type.
"A soldier all of his adult life, and a war hero as well, ltzhak Rabin reveals in this reading the complexities of Israeli politics and the contradictions within a military man who sought peace." The characterization of Rabin simply as “a military man who sought peace” is simplistic. Although Rabin indeed sought peace, he was clear that he would not agree to ‘peace at any price’. Evidence suggests that Rabin regarded the Oslo process as a necessary experiment and a last-ditch effort for peace. Many historians believe that the Palestinian reaction to Oslo - an intensification of terror activities - would have resulted in a change to Israel’s tactics had Rabin survived.
"In this blunt speech to the Israeli Knesset, or parliament, he laid out reasons why he thought the time had come to end the conflict between Jews and Palestinians. From 1974 through 1977 he served as prime minister, gaining a reputation as a hard-liner. Later he again served as prime minister, bringing his government into the Oslo peace process. For achieving this agreement, Rabin, along with Yasir Arafat and Israel's foreign minister Shimon Peres, received the Noble Peace Prize." The book's analysis implies that the 1994-1995 agreements between Israel and the PLO, known as the ‘Oslo Accords’, was a great achievement. There is no mention of the fact that twenty-five years later, the Oslo Accords are widely considered to be a dismal failure responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Israeli men, women, and children.
"After making peace with Jordan, he [Rabin] reached a further agreement with the Palestinians in October, 1995, which projected Israeli withdrawal from seven additional Palestinian towns on the West Bank. He also called for holding elections for a Palestinian Legislative Council, which took place on January 20, 1996, when Arafat was elected resident of the Palestinian Authority." The book's analysis implies that the P.A. elections were a great achievement. They are not. The fact is that the President is not chosen by citizens, but by the Palestinian Central Council, is not mentioned, nor is the fact that there are no, and never have been, effective term limits on the office. The first President, Yassir Arafat, served for over 15 years until his death in 2004. Mahmoud Abbas, the current P.A. President, has been in office for 16 years. Both Presidents are widely regarded as corrupt, reportedly amassing millions of dollars from state coffers. None of this is mentioned in the book. Neither are the dozens of terror attacks on Israeli citizens emanating from Palestinian territory, under the reign of both residents, that resulted in the creation of a security fence, restrictions on travel for both Israelis and Palestinian Arabs, and renewed incursions into Arab towns.
"Rabin's assassination by an Israeli fanatic occurred just after a November 1995 peace rally in Tel Aviv." Unmentioned is the last twenty years of Israeli history, including the withdrawal from Gaza and subsequent missile attacks, planned terror attacks via tunnels designed to murder thousands of Israelis, and other indications that have caused many to believe that the ‘peace process’ has failed.