|Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a special Knesset session in memory of former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin gunned down by a Jewish assassin during a peace rally in Tel Aviv in 1995, in Jerusalem, Oct. 28, 2012. (Xinhua/Yin Dongxun)
JERUSALEM, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the legacy of Yitzhak Rabin, the former prime minister gunned down by a Jewish assassin during a peace rally in Tel Aviv in 1995, commands Israel to decisively counter political violence.
"In order to ensure that the full significance of this traumatic event is internalized, we must ensure that the murderer will never be pardoned," Netanyahu said at the official state ceremony to mark the 17th anniversary of Rabin's death at the national military cemetery in Jerusalem's Mt. Herzl.
"We must also ensure free public discourse in the State of Israel. The atrocious murder of Yitzhak Rabin commands us to preserve freedom of expression and to forcefully battle any manifestation of violence against opinions, ethnic groups and religions," the premier said in a televised address.
Netanyahu, who led the political opposition to the 1994 Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the late chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat, in the months that preceded the assassination, emphasized that Rabin was "always a realistic leader" who worked to preserve Israel's military prowess while striving to achieve peace with its neighbors.
"In the face of this changing reality, it's worthwhile to remember a principle that Rabin understood well: the guarantee for our security and peace with our neighbors is first and foremost... We seek peace with our neighbors and expand alliances with our friends, but in the end of the day, all these depend on our prowess," Netanyahu said.
Turning to the stalemate in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, Netanyahu accused the Palestinian National Authority of not yet finalizing a peace agreement with Israel.
"Every now and then they are raising preconditions to resuming negotiations, which raise the difficulty, but do not change the need to attain peace based on coexistence, security and mutual recognition," Netanyahu said.
Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians halted in October 2010 after Israel refused to stop the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.