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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 November 2005, 21:44 GMT
Israel marks Rabin assassination
Israelis hold candles and a banner at a rally in Tel Aviv
It is Israel's biggest peace rally since the Gaza pullout in September
Tens of thousands of people have been attending a rally in Tel Aviv at the spot where Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was killed 10 years ago.

Former US President Bill Clinton paid tribute to Rabin, urging the crowds to "see through" his peace initiatives.

Rabin, who signed the Oslo peace deals with the Palestinians, was shot by an Israeli extremist on 4 November 1995.

State ceremonies to mark the event are being held now, the anniversary in accordance with the Hebrew calendar.

He (Yitzhak Rabin) is as real to me today as he was in his last day on this earth
Former US President Bill Clinton

Mr Clinton, who worked closely with Rabin on the Oslo accords, said a week had not gone by in the last 10 years in which he had not thought of Rabin and missed him.

He praised Rabin's "ability to move from a soldier to a peacemaker".

But he said Rabin's work was still unfinished, stressing that the only honourable way "to resolve competing claims" between Israel and the Palestinians was through a peaceful settlement.

Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres was another key speaker who paid tribute to Rabin.

Mr Peres, who was foreign minister at the time of Rabin's assassination, urged Israel's youth to "get into political life and with your strength carry the load of peace for the state of Israel".

"Peace is in your hands," Mr Peres said.

Some 1,500 police, bomb squad experts and security personnel were deployed for the rally and streets in central Tel Aviv were closed.

'Nostalgic night'

Many of those at the rally waved flags and banners, and some wore Rabin t-shirts.

HAVE YOUR SAY
I'd say his legacy in terms of the Palestinian issue is virtually nothing
Brian Anon, Kansas City, USA

This is a nostalgic night out for Israel's once dominant left-wing peace camp, our correspondent says.

He adds that although Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has cast aside many of Rabin's principles, he has followed Rabin in one key way - by letting go of a little bit more of the occupied territories.

Rabin's murder came after a peace rally in the square that now bears his name.

The former Kings of Israel Square, opposite city hall in Tel Aviv, is often the scene of major rallies for peace with the Palestinians.

'Land for peace'

Rabin, Mr Peres and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat shared the Nobel Peace Prize for initiating the Oslo accords.

This was the peace process, based on a "land for peace" principle, that led to mutual recognition between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel, and the formation of the Palestinian Authority.

It has largely been superseded by the Middle East "roadmap" and Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

Rabin attracted both support and fierce anger for his decision to sign the 1993 accords.

Rabin's murderer, right-wing activist Yigal Amir, was enraged by his decision to make peace with the Palestinians and has never publicly expressed regret for the killing.

A poll published by the Maariv newspaper suggests Israelis see Rabin's assassination as the third most important event in the history of their country, after the 1973 Yom Kippur and the 1967 Middle East war.


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SEE ALSO:

10 Nov 05 |  Middle East

04 Nov 05 |  Middle East

02 Nov 02 |  Middle East

12 Nov 00 |  PROFILES


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