Backing off his theory that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was killed in a largescale conspiracy, Israel’s top police official said Wednesday that only the gunman and his brother were involved in the plot.
Police Minister Moshe Shahal’s comments confirmed testimony by the director of the Shin Bet, the internal security service, who reportedly told a government commission this week Rabin was killed by a lone assassin.
Shahal, speaking to reporters in a parliament hallway, said the group of Jewish militants associated with confessed assassin Yigal Amir and his brother, Hagai, were planning to harass or kill Palestinians, but did not target Jews.
“I don’t think there was a conspiracy” to kill Rabin, said Shahal, whose title was changed Wednesday to internal security minister.
Shahal did not explain why he changed his mind. He was the only Cabinet minister to speak openly about a conspiracy, which he said also targeted other high-level Israeli officials.
In parliament, Rabin successor Shimon Peres won broad approval - 62-8 with 38 abstentions - for his new government, as legislators demonstrated unity in the wake of the assassination.
Peres told legislators his main goal was a comprehensive peace by the turn of the millennium, creating “a Middle East without violence, bloodshed, terror, wars and without the reason for all this - poverty.”
In all, five people remained in detention Wednesday in connection with Rabin’s death: the Amir brothers; Yigal Amir’s former girlfriend, Margalit Harshefi; Yigal Amir’s army buddy Dror Adani; and a soldier in an elite unit, Eric Schwartz.
A sixth suspect arrested this week, Avshalom Weinberg, was accused of planning to attack Palestinian prisoners released under the Israel-PLO agreement, police said.
xxxx CURBS SUPPORTED A poll published Wednesday found most Israelis support some curbs on free speech in the wake of the assassination - a crime some blame on the hateful rhetoric of extreme right-wing groups. Legislation against incitement to violence and racism has rarely been enforced, and there is no censorship except on security issues. But a recnt telephone poll of 500 Israelis found that 54 percent wanted tighter control of the media and 77 percent demanded greater supervision of political banners, posters and placards.