Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my leader and our party I rise this afternoon to pay tribute to the late Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzahk Rabin.
Rabin earned his reputation with Israelis as a soldier and then as a politician. His first hand knowledge of the military and his deep commitment to preserving Israel's security, first through arms and later through peace, made him undeniably one of the world's greatest statesmen.
It is well known that Mr. Rabin earned his credibility on the battlefield. However, Rabin's greatest honour and truest victory came through his pursuit of a lasting peace with his former enemies.
He sought peace not through fear but through courage, seeing it as the only hope for the future. He understood that true peace is not the absence of all differences, but genuine goodwill and the putting aside of those differences for the common good. Of the necessity for peace, Rabin said: "We should not let the land flowing with milk and honey become the land flowing with blood and tears".
Yitzahk Rabin truly believed that "the majority of people want peace and are ready to take a chance for peace". He himself took that chance and paid recently with his life.
Just six weeks ago, King Hussein of Jordan, President Mubarak of Egypt, Chairman Arafat, and Prime Minister Rabin signed a peace agreement on the White House lawn. In words that seem almost prophetic today, Prime Minister Rabin said: "Only poets have dreamt of this moment, and to our great pain soldier and civilian went to their deaths to make this moment possible".
He was soldier and civilian both, as well as one of Israel's greatest leaders. We hope and pray that his death, although tragic and untimely, will leave a legacy for lasting Middle East peace, for which he sought so valiantly.
Our sympathy and prayers are with Mrs. Rabin and her family. Shalom, Prime Minister Rabin.