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Israelis Rally for Peace on Rabin Anniversary


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Thousands of Israelis gathered at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to mark the 14th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The demonstration took place at the site where Mr. Rabin was gunned down at a peace rally in 1995, by an Orthodox Jew opposed to his policy of trading land for peace with the Palestinians.

Israel's President Shimon Peres, who was with Mr. Rabin the night he was shot and who succeeded him as prime minister, said the quest for peace must continue.

Mr. Peres urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also known as Abu Mazen, to change his decision not to run for re-election in January. On Thursday, Mr. Abbas announced that he plans to step down because of Israel's settlement policies and its failure to advance the peace process.

Mr. Peres said Israel wants true peace and he urged President Abbas not to give up.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said peace is made from a position of security and self-confidence.

Barak said Israel is strong and able to deter its enemies, and therefore it is able to make peace.

In a video message, U.S. President Barack Obama paid tribute to Mr. Rabin, a former general and army chief of staff. "Yitzhak was the brave soldier who devoted his life to defending Israel, but who said that the only battle that is a pleasure to wage is the battle for peace, declaring on that stage that night, 'Yes to peace, no to violence.'"

Rabin's legacy lives on, but 14 years after his assassination, the peace process he initiated remains deadlocked.

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