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Israel PM Netanyahu denies incitement before murder of Rabin

Netanyahu, Likud party have been accused of taking part in hate campaign that preceded Rabin's assassination
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AFP/file photo)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday rejected accusations that he had been involved in a campaign of incitement that preceded the 1995 assassination of premier Yitzhak Rabin.

In a message on his Facebook page, Netanyahu called Rabin's killing on 4 November that year by Jewish extremist Yigal Amir a "shocking political murder that all of us condemn".

"Since the murder there have been continuous attempts to distort the historical truth and blame me for the incitement that preceded the killing," he wrote.

He posted video clips taken before the assassination, showing him condemning virulent statements against Rabin.

In the weeks before the assassination, Netanyahu and other senior Likud members attended a right-wing political rally in Jerusalem where protesters branded Rabin a “traitor,” “murderer” and “Nazi” for signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians earlier that year, the Times of Israel reported.

Rabin won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for his role in negotiating the Oslo peace accords, which envisioned an independent Palestinian state.

Amir, who was opposed to the Oslo accords, is now serving a life sentence for shooting Rabin dead at a peace rally in a central Tel Aviv square.

Netanyahu and his Likud party have often been accused of taking part in the hate campaign that preceded Rabin's assassination.

Last week, Likud MP and close ally David Bitan, chairman of Netanyahu's governing coalition, provoked uproar by claiming that Rabin's killing was "not political".