I am proud of what I did, says Rabin murder accomplice as he walks free
The brother of the man who murdered the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin walked free yesterday after 16-and-a-half years in jail for being an accomplice, declaring that he was "proud" of what he did.
Hagai Amir, 43, conspired with his brother, Yigal, to assassinate Rabin in retaliation for his efforts to seek peace with the Palestinians and cede parts of the biblical heartland in the West Bank and Gaza.
His brother, an ultra-nationalist Jew, who is serving a life sentence in a high-security jail, fired three rounds into Rabin at a peace rally in Tel Aviv in 1995. His actions helped set in motion the events that would bring a right-wing government back to power.
Ahead of Amir's release early yesterday, peace activists gathered outside the prison, chanting "Disgrace" and "We won't forgive, we won't forget". As family members led the former prisoner to a car, he held his fingers aloft in a V for victory sign and told Israeli radio: "I am not regretful. I am proud of what I did." He was to spend his first night of freedom in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.
"This is a black day for Israel," Dror Morag, the secretary general of the left-wing Meretz party, was quoted as saying by the Jerusalem Post. "Hagai Amir may have paid his legal debt, but his debt to the public will never be settled. Behind the Amir brothers stands an entire public of leaders and supporters who continue to incite against the left and democracy."
Seventeen years after his death, Rabin is still regarded by many Israelis as the leader who came closest to achieving lasting peace with the Palestinians. A former general, he pursued a policy of ceding land for peace, culminating in the signing of the Oslo peace accords.
But there were many on the right who regarded him as a traitor for agreeing to give up land in the West Bank that religious Jews consider a part of their birthright.
The Israelis and Palestinians went on to fight a bitter Second Intifada after Mr Rabin's death in 1995, and prospects for a peace deal remain more remote than ever. Israel's current right-wing government has promoted Jewish settlement in the West Bank while doing little to pursue peace talks.
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
World news in pictures
You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
David Cameron goes to war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
Revealed: Eerie new images show forgotten French apartment that was abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched for 70 years
- 1 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 2 Boxing: Carl Froch slams fellow Brits for sparring with Mikkel Kessler
- 3 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 4 David Cameron goes to war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£30000 - £40000 per annum + BENS: Progressive Recruitment: Drupal Developer A ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + bens: Progressive Recruitment: C# WEB DEVELOPER Le...
£240 - £260 per day: Progressive Recruitment: WPF Developer (C#, VB.Net) North...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: KS2 teacher needed to do PPA ...