THE LAVON AFFAIR
& THE RABIN ASSASSINATION

By Emanuel A. Winston

Certain similarities between the Lavon Affair and the Rabin Assassination suggest that creating an incident for political benefit has always been a key tactic in the Labor Party's arsenal. While political dirty tricks are well-known tactics, only vested interests desperate for a big gain would dare to cross the red lines of assassination. When Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, certain evidence created the appearance that some one or group had planned to create the fiction of an attempted assassination which was not supposed to kill Rabin. As led by Rabin, the Labor Party poll meisters knew that, with the Oslo Accords failing because of the precipitously rising death toll from Palestinian terrorism, Rabin's chances for re-election were very slight. Only a spectacular event would save the Prime Ministry for the Labor Party.

They may have theorized that a failed assassination attempt on the Prime Minister would arouse the citizenry's sympathies. And that their righteous anger, when properly channeled against the political opposition, the Rightists, the religious and the settlers could change the polls overnight. An investigative reporter Mr. Barry Chamish has devoted considerable time and research on each minute detail of this tragic event. He has just published a book entitled "Who Murdered Yitzhak Rabin?" with an accompanying videotape which takes one step by step from the time before the shooting through the events that followed with clarity; logic and a sense of planning that far exceeds the simplistic version of a religious youth on a self-styled mission. A must read book. (1)

(The German General Clausewitz once observed that the failure of a good plan was the search for a better one.) Here we see what could have been an effective plan to reinvigorate Rabin's chances for re-election, which was possibly overtaken by another more sinister plan to actually kill him. This would still benefit Labor and the next candidate amenable to continuing Oslo - perhaps Shimon Peres, Oslo's author, among others. Peres would; of course, be expected to insist that Oslo continue - even as it failed to deliver peace for the land surrendered. Whoever would suspect that Labor's opposition, PM Netanyahu would deliver Oslo/Hebron and so much more?

A great deal of effort has been exerted to keep the Rabin affair from being properly investigated or reported. Even the hearings that were held seemed to rely primarily upon the good reputation of retired Supreme Court Justice Shamgar rather than allowing the real evidence to speak for itself in public review. This 'concealment' gave the perception of a concerted exertion to protect a small part of Israel's Secret Service (GSS) from charges of collusion between the GSS, the political arm of Labor and, very possibly, sources representing other governments who needed a Labor Party in power to complete all Israeli withdrawals.

After considerable maneuvering and avoidance; Attorney General Elaykim Rubenstein under compelling pressure; has offered the public a limited hearing but in camera (public not permitted) of Avishai Raviv; the agent provocateur of the GSS. He has; so far been protected by powerful forces. Now there is to be an expected sham trial merely to say 'Justice has been served' while the real planners have again been protected. Raviv; as you may recall; was tasked by the GSS and the Labor Party to inspire rash acts among the political Right so the public would side with Labor on implementing the Oslo Accords. That is why the trial will be held in secret - although the excuse is that methods of the Secret Service will be compromised by any public trial.

Some may recall the strenuous effort and probable financial support that Bill Clinton employed unsuccessfully to defeat Binyamin Netanyahu in favor of Shimon Peres. Clinton even staged an International Conference against Terrorism to showcase his preferred candidate Peres. This was an unusual and embarrassing episode for US diplomacy when an American President publicly interfered with an election in a fellow democracy. Ever since that time Clinton and his State Department have ramped up this pressure culminating with the Wye Memorandum which was strictly a high priority ambush of Israel. Consider how many prejudiced interests wanted Labor to retain power and continue Oslo all the way to a Palestinians State plus half of Jerusalem - and more. On the day that Gaza International Airport opened, the PLO leadership - especially Yassir Arafat - began proclaiming their plans for a PLO airport in Jerusalem.

You may be wondering where the Lavon Affair fits into this scenario. In brief, a well-researched book entitled "The Gun and the Olive Branch" by David Hirst (2) describes how in 1954 there appeared to be deepening rapprochement between Egypt, Britain and America. This was exceedingly dangerous for Israel as Egypt was to benefit from arms and political assistance. Proving how dangerous this could have been, were four subsequent wars wherein the combined Arab armies including Egypt threatened to obliterate Israel. With this military assistance from Britain and America, Egypt could have had the necessary military power to defeat Israel. Fortunately; Israel's doctrine of ein breira (no choice) gave them the will not to lose any of those wars.

Hirst reports that in order to break up this pending alliance, a desperate plot was evolved where a ring of Israeli operatives in Egypt were to bomb various British and American establishments with the blame falling on Gamal Abdel Nasser's regime. According to Hirst, the orders were given by the head of Israeli Military Intelligence, Col. Benjamin Givli, who was theoretically reporting to then Defense Minister Pinchas Lavon. But as it turned out, neither Lavon nor then Prime Minister Sharett knew of this plot. This secret project was being covertly run by others who then as now believed they knew better.

The Israelis were caught by the Egyptians. At their trials in Egypt available evidence pointed to Lavon as the perpetrator. Later in Israel Col. Givli produced incriminating documents in secret hearings that had Lavon's signatures (but were later proved to be forgeries). Two of David Ben Gurion's protegees, Moshe Dayan and Shimon Peres testified against Lavon. PM Sharrett, pressured by the scandal, fired Lavon and called Ben Gurion out of his self-imposed retreat in Sde Boker to replace Lavon as Minister of Defense. Six years later, according to Hirst, the truth came out that Ben Gurion, Dayan and Peres had framed Lavon. Ben Gurion protested that the three year statute of limitations had expired and the case could not be re-opened.

Lavon, now head of the powerful Histadrut Labor Union, demanded and received a full inquiry. The investigation revealed that the operation had been planned without Lavon's knowledge. His signature had been forged and he was to be the designated fall guy for the actual perpetrators.

In 1960 the Israeli Cabinet unanimously exonerated Lavon. The Attorney General found conclusive proof of forgeries and false testimony from earlier inquiries. Both Dayan and Peres evaded indictment for their false testimony. (I don't know what happened to Col. Givli.) In Tel Aviv and Jerusalem students chanted "Ben Gurion, Go to Sde Boker and Take Dayan and Peres with You. We Do Not Accept Leaders with Elastic Consciences."

The real victims were the Israeli agents, two of whom were hung, the rest given long sentences. Marcelle Nino and her fellow agents were exchanged for Egyptian prisoners after 14 years in Egyptian prisons. The Israeli people welcomed them, but Nino and 2 colleagues expressed the belief on Israeli TV that they weren't released earlier because the Israeli leaders in control of Labor governments, Ben Gurion, Peres; Dayan, etc. made little effort to rescue them. Clearly; their return deeply embarrassed those who wanted the scandal forgotten.

Perhaps the reader can now start to equate a certain pattern of deception so well established in the machinations of the Labor Party as it clutched for power. In this spectacular display of arrogance, betrayal unto the death of Israelis, and willingness to engage in criminal activity to protect their own political future while sacrificing others, the matter of Rabin's assassination comes into current focus.

The Israeli government's reluctance to press for the release of Jonathan Pollard, now entering his 14th year in prison, matches that same reluctance to press for the release of its agents held for 14 years in Egyptian prisons. Clearly, being protected from exposure is a much higher priority for those politicians who hoped to benefit from the results while the brave souls who risked their lives and freedom on their orders paid the price.

THE TRIAL OF AVISHAI RAVIV

There should be a deep and strenuous inquiry, starting with the 'agent provocateur', Avishai Raviv, which no doubt will be just as vigorously resisted by those who stand to be accused, as in times past. Some of those who should now recuse (stand down) themselves are Atty. Gen. Elaykim Rubenstein, retired Chief Justice Meir Shamgar and anyone else connected with the former hearings or who might be influenced into suppressing evidence so-called "for the good of the nation".

On the anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, one recalls the confused investigations into his assassination which are still haunted by the same stink of a high level coverup and shallow investigations by the Warren Commission. This should not be the case with the Rabin assassination. Clearly, the people and the nation deserve better.

It has become popular to urge that the words "Betrayer and Traitor" be removed from our lexicon. The fact is that both the words and their meanings are as true and useful today as they always were. Since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin there is an effort to remove these descriptive words from our language in the theory that such words in themselves may cause people to consider violence. I do not agree. When leaders lie to their people, putting them in grave jeopardy, they are, indeed, betraying their trust and deserve the epithet. The effort by the Labor Party to cast the opposition party as inspiring assassination by words used at demonstrations is political trickery which may boomerang if there is an open and deep investigation by a panel of jurists who cannot be reached or threatened.

Those who conspire with the sworn enemy or those in actual collusion with the enemy are, indeed, traitors according to International Law. Legal action should be taken against such individuals where these charges can be openly investigated, discussed and proven or disproved. When the law fails to act and to make such inquiries, then the cry for justice moves to the streets out of sheer frustration. Governments make the law, but are not above the law. When these temporary elected caretakers conduct the nation's business beyond the law, then they have crossed the line into a dictatorship. Then the people have the obligation to respond, as pointed out in detail by the eminent Professor of International Law, Louis René Beres. When a government's courts and judges become part of a scheme to protect politicians from the evil they have done, then they are no longer judges and ministers of law - but indictable co-conspirators with those in Government who break the law. They can no longer claim sanctuary in a body of laws which were meant to protect the people in a just democracy.

That was codified as International Law by the Nuremberg Tribunal which tried German judges who accepted Hitler's dictates, turning Germany's law into a political instrument of the Government and, therefore, no longer legal or just. Surely, of all people on this earth, the Jewish people deserve the unadulterated truth - which they most assuredly have not been getting. Let us not have another Lavon or Kennedy coverup by those conducting the Avishai Raviv hearings with such limitations as to insure the guilty will remain forever hidden.

If we can take the truth of King David lusting for Bathsheba and sending Uriah, her husband, to be killed in battle, we can surely take full exposure to the truth about lesser men possibly conspiring to kill Prime Minister Rabin for the political gain his death has bought.

NOTES

1. "Who Murdered Yitzhak Rabin? The Shocking Treachery That Altered The Face Of History" by Barry Chamish, Feral House; Venice CA 1998. Available from the Freeman Center ($12.95).

2. "The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East" by David Hirst published in Great Britain by Faber & Faber 1977

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Emanuel A. Winston is a Middle East analyst & commentator and a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.


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