Jerusalem: Israel on Wednesday marked the 15th
anniversary of the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak
Rabin at the hands of a Jewish extremist opposed to peace with
Israeli President Shimon Peres used the occasion to
urge Israeli and Palestinian leaders not to abandon new, but
already-stalled peace talks.
"Don`t be deterred from peace efforts, even under
difficult circumstances," Peres told dignitaries gathered at
Jerusalem`s Mount Herzl cemetery, saying those peace efforts
were "Rabin`s legacy."
Rabin is revered as a national hero, both for his
legendary career as army chief and for peace efforts in the
1990s that earned him a Nobel peace prize shared with Peres
and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The agreements engineered by Rabin, Peres and
Arafat have largely been undone by the violence of the last
Israel and the Palestinian leadership started new
US-brokered direct talks on September 2.
But Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in
the audience, and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas have not met
since September 15, with the Palestinians refusing to talk
until Israel reimposes a moratorium on settlement building in
the occupied West Bank.
On October 9, the Arab League gave the United
States a month to try to bridge differences over Jewish
settlements, one of the thorniest obstacles to peace in the
"I don`t make light of the difficulties facing us
but it is no excuse to be deterred from the effort. I am
convinced the whole nation wants peace," said Peres.
"I am convinced that we can make peace," he said.
Wednesday`s ceremony marked the anniversary in
accordance with the Jewish lunar calendar.
A mass rally to mark the anniversary will be held
on Saturday evening in Tel Aviv in the square where Rabin was
gunned down on November 4, 1995 after attending a peace