Security Issues Project
Note: A similiar article was printed in The Struggle (August1998). (See below for free hard copy and subscription information.)
Shabak Elements Eliminated Rabin Argues Ostrovsky
Has the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995 been adequately closed by the arrest, conviction and life sentence now being served by Yigal Amir for the killing? Not according to some observers both inside and outside of Israel. Many of the unresolved issues are summarized and contextualized in an article on the affair by Victor Ostrovsky, a former Mossad case officer now based in Canada, who claims that "Rabin was murdered in a well-orchestrated assassination carried out by extremist right-wing officers of the Shabak. The man sitting in jail is only a puppet triggerman, the kind a clever agitator could get to do just about anything."
In his article, ("Commission Report Leaks Make Strong Case for Complicity of Shabak Officers in Rabin Assassination," The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January/February 1998, Pages 30, 111-112) Ostrovsky combines his own expert understanding about intelligence procedures along with disturbing information reported in the media in the wake of the assassination. In addition, explains Ostrovsky, in November 1997, the Netanyahu government unexpectedly made available "astounding" details about the assassination from portions of the Shamgar Commission report, the official government investigation into the assassination. Ostrovsky believes that the Netanyahu government released the secret information in the wake of its own intelligence fiasco in Amman, Jordan in September 1997, "in order to prove the responsibility of the Shabak for the murder" [of Rabin].
Perhaps the most troubling intelligence lapse of the affair is the question of how Yigal Amir was able to penetrate the safe zone where Rabin's bulletproof car was parked. No doubt the security services were embarrassed when an amateur videotape later revealed a clearly nervous Yigal Amir pacing about in the safe zone before the assassination. Amir's presence there was no security lapse, argues Ostrovsky. He believes that Amir must have been deliberately allowed into the area with the express permission of the Shabak authorities.
Ostrovsky points to several other well known disquieting facts about the case. Rabin had only one bodyguard the night he was killed. That man left his side supposedly to go to Leah Rabin. According to Ostrovsky, standing orders strictly forbid a bodyguard to leave the Prime Minister. Also, many people, including Leah Rabin, heard someone shout "blank, blank" just after the shots were fired. Right after the shots, Avishai Raviv, a Shabak informer revealed to be an associate of Amir, sent a wireless message to the media saying, "We failed this time, we will succeed next time".
According to Ostrovsky, portions of the Shamgar Commission report released by Netanyahu detail Raviv's undercover activities inciting hatred and opposition against Rabin. It was informer Raviv and his group who printed and distributed the infamous poster of Rabin in an SS uniform. They also were the ones who carried the mock coffin with Rabin's name on it during the Likud rallies.
The key to understanding the assassination, Ostrovsky explains, lies in the technique that the Shabak has long employed of allowing a "controlled release of hostile energy," to deal with potential terrorists. "The assumption is that there is a subcurrent in the population that is militant in its nature and that, sooner or later, will produce an act of terror. As there is no way for the security services to be everywhere at all times, they infiltrate the movement and then bring about the anticipated terrorist action when and where it is most convenient for the security services to act."
"As they are `in on the act,' the security service, i.e. the Shabak, can replace the real bullets with blanks or, as in the case of the Jewish underground, replace live explosives with duds. The Shabak believes that in doing so it creates the cause for an arrest while preventing an actual act of terrorism."
Ostrovsky believes that a plot was hatched by the Shabak for "a controlled release of hostility." The Shabak planned that Amir would believe he was going to kill Rabin, but would instead be given blank bullets. Ostrovsky believes that an as yet unexposed Shabak official decided to use real bullets in order to eliminate Rabin.
Ostrovsky has written two books about his experiences, By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer, and The Other Side of Deception: A Rogue Agent Exposes the Mossad's Secret Agenda.
The website of The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs containing the full text of Ostrovsky's article is at: http://www.washington-report.org/
For a free copy of the current issue of The Struggle, The Journal of the Middle East Crisis Committee, contact The Struggle: email@example.com
Subscriptions: $10 for 12 printed issues.The Struggle Box 8993 New Haven, CT 06532