The Murder Of Yitzhak Rabin And The Rise Of The Blade Intifada

Almost 20 years ago, a Jewish extremist named Yigal Amir fired two hollow-point bullets into the back of Yitzhak Rabin as he left a peace rally in Tel Aviv, leaving him fatally wounded. Political assassinations don’t always alter the future of a country, but the murder of the Israeli prime minister delivered exactly what his assassin had prayed for: a fatal blow to a fragile peace process, which many hoped might end a century of communal warfare between Jews and Palestinians.

Since Rabin’s death, the two peoples—living as neighbors and enemies on a land they both claim—have been caught in a seemingly endless cycle of deepening hatred, failed negotiations and growing violence. The most troubling legacy of Rabin’s assassination is how easily animosity can burst into bloodletting. The latest paroxysm occurred in October, as more than three dozen Jews and Arabs died in a series of Palestinian stabbings and Israeli gunfire across the country, in the West Bank and along the border fence with Gaza.

The front lines of this conflict are now anywhere Jews and Palestinians routinely encounter one another—riding a bus, shopping in a market or walking down the street. Rattled Israeli officials are urging Jews to carry licensed firearms wherever they go. Other Israelis are stocking up on pepper spray and stun guns, suspicious of every Arab who lives or works among them. “How can I trust the Arab guy who is working in the supermarket?” retired Major General Amnon Reshef, leader of a group of former senior officers calling for stronger security measures, tells Newsweek. “I consider him my friend, but who knows what will be in a couple of minutes?”

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