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Obama, Bill Clinton Plead for Peace at Rabin Remembrance

  • VOA News

President Barack Obama, on a video monitor, addresses the gathering during a rally in Tel Aviv, Israel, marking 20 years since the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Oct. 31, 2015.

President Barack Obama, on a video monitor, addresses the gathering during a rally in Tel Aviv, Israel, marking 20 years since the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Oct. 31, 2015.

President Barack Obama on Saturday pleaded for peace between Israelis and Palestinians at a rally to remember a man who died for peace: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Obama spoke by video to tens of thousands of Israelis who celebrated Rabin's life in Tel Aviv, nearly 20 years after his assassination at a peace rally by a Jewish extremist opposed to peace with the Palestinians.

"In these difficult days for Israelis, for Palestinians and for the region, Yitzhak's life, his dream, inspire us still," the president said. "What he said to the crowd that night remains true for all of you. In coming here today, you demonstrate that the people truly desire peace and oppose violence."

Former President Bill Clinton speaks during a rally in Tel Aviv, Israel, marking 20 years since the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Oct. 31, 2015.

Former President Bill Clinton speaks during a rally in Tel Aviv, Israel, marking 20 years since the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Oct. 31, 2015.

Former President Bill Clinton, who worked directly with Rabin, spoke in Tel Aviv in person Saturday.

"The next step will be determined by whether you decide that Yitzhak Rabin was right, that you have to share the future with your neighbors, that you have to give their children a chance ... that the risk for peace is not as severe as a risk of walking away from it," Clinton said.

Elsewhere in Israel Saturday, Palestinian protesters battled with Israeli police as thousands attended the funerals in Hebron for five teenagers killed by Israeli forces while stabbing or trying to stab Jews.

Israel withheld the five bodies from their families until Friday, saying it will not always turn over the remains of "terrorists" to prevent the funerals from becoming an incitement to violence.

Also Saturday, Israel denied that its tear gas killed a Palestinian baby in Bethlehem on Friday.

Palestinian authorities said 8-month-old Ramadan Thawabteh was suffocated by tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers during a protest. But the Israeli army said no gas was fired anywhere near the baby's home.

Rumors that Israel plans to take over an East Jerusalem holy site revered by Muslims and Jews has been at the center of a month of violence that has left 11 Israelis and about 65 Palestinians dead. Israeli authorities have said most of the Palestinians were killed while attacking or attempting to stab or shoot Israeli civilians, police or soldiers.

Israel has consistently denied the rumors concerning the holy site and accuses Palestinian leaders of inciting young people to violence.

Palestinian officials are pushing the International Criminal Court to investigate allegations of what they call "Israeli war crimes" and an excessive use of force against civilians — assertions that Israel denies.

Many Palestinians are fed up with their lack of economic opportunity, the dim outlook for peace and Jewish settlement activity in lands they want for a future state.

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