Thousands of Israelis mark 1995 Rabin assassination

Israelis attend a rally to mark the 22nd anniversary of the assassination of former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin on November 4, 2017, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. (AFP / JACK GUEZ)
Updated 05 November 2017

Thousands of Israelis mark 1995 Rabin assassination

TEL AVIV: Thousands of people attended a memorial rally for slain Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin on Saturday, with organizers banning political speeches and stressing a message of unity across political divides.
“We want to hold the rally this year under a banner that unites rather than divides us,” said Darkenu, one of the organizers — a group which says on its English-language website that it speaks for “the moderate majority.”
TV cameras mounted on buildings overlooking central Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square showed the large public space packed with people and overflowing far along adjoining streets.
Police did not release an official crowd estimate.
Rabin was gunned down in Tel Aviv at the square which now bears his name as he left a peace rally on November 4, 1995.
The killer was Jewish terrorist Yigal Amir who opposed the Oslo peace accords, which envisioned an independent Palestinian state.
Rabin, a former head of Israel’s armed forces, won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for his role in negotiating the Oslo accords.
Netanyahu and his Likud party have often been accused of taking part in a hate campaign that preceded Rabin’s assassination.
At an official graveside memorial ceremony on Wednesday Rabin’s son Yuval said the same divisive atmosphere still persisted and he challenged Netanyahu to make a public call for tolerance.
“There is no one to say, ‘Stop this madness’,” Yuval Rabin said.
“It is time for a statement from the house on Balfour Street that calls for the total eradication of violence and hatred,” he said, referring to the location of the premier’s official Jerusalem residence.
Netanyahu responded shortly afterward from the podium of Israel’s parliament addressing himself directly to Rabin’s son.
“I understand your pain in the face of the waves of slander and smears against your father,” he said.
“I am picking up the gauntlet,” Netanyahu added. “I call for national reconciliation and brotherhood.”
“I have done this many times before, but in light of your moving call, I repeat this message with all my might,” Netanyahu added.
 


US considering troop boost to counter Iran

Updated 06 December 2019

US considering troop boost to counter Iran

  • A source has said Defense Secretary Mark Esper was considering plans to move between 5,000 and 7,000 troops to the Middle East
  • Tensions have risen sharply with Iran since Trump last year pulled out of a denuclearization pact and imposed sweeping sanctions

WASHINGTON: The United States said Thursday it was considering deploying fresh forces to counter Iran, with an official saying some 5,000 to 7,000 troops could head to the region.
Testifying before Congress, John Rood, the under secretary of defense for policy, said the United States was “observing Iran’s behavior with concern.”
“We’re continuing to look at that threat picture and have the ability to dynamically adjust our force posture,” Rood told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
A US official told AFP on condition of anonymity that Defense Secretary Mark Esper was considering plans to move between 5,000 and 7,000 troops to the Middle East.
The official did not confirm where the troops would be sent, or in what timeframe, but said that the deployment would be due to frustrations with Iranian-linked groups’ attacks on US assets.
Rood, under questioning, denied a report by The Wall Street Journal the United States was considering sending 14,000 more troops — equivalent to the number sent over the past six months.
Esper also denied the 14,000 figure in a phone call with Senator Jim Inhofe, the chairman of the committee, Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said.
US President Donald Trump later tweeted that: “The story today that we are sending 12,000 troops to Saudi Arabia is false or, to put it more accurately, Fake News!“
It was not immediately clear which report the president was referring to.
Tensions have risen sharply with Iran since Trump last year pulled out of a denuclearization pact and imposed sweeping sanctions, including trying to block all its oil exports.
In September, the United States said Iran was responsible for attacks on the major Abqaiq oil processing center in Saudi Arabia, a close US ally and Iran’s regional rival.
Riyadh then asked Washington for reinforcements, receiving two fighter squadrons, additional missile defense batteries, and bringing the number of US troops stationed in the Kingdom to about 3,000.
The United States has also been alarmed by an uptick in attacks on bases in Iraq, where major demonstrations triggered by economic discontent have also targeted Iran’s clerical regime and its overwhelming influence in its Shiite-majority neighbor.
“We’re lucky no one has been killed. There is a spike in rocket attacks,” another US official said.
“It’s clearly not Daesh. Everything is going in the right direction and it’s the right range,” the official said, contrasting Iranian capabilities with those of the extremist Daesh group.
Among the incidents, five rockets hit the Al-Asad Air Base on Tuesday, just four days after US Vice President Mike Pence visited US troops there.
Iran denied involvement in the September attack in Saudi Arabia, which was claimed by Tehran-backed Houthi militia.
The tensions come as Iran itself has faced major protests set off by a sharp hike in gas prices.