For the second time within three months, the trial of
General Sercurity Service agent provocateur Avishai Raviv
was postponed for another four months -- less than 24 hours
before it was to begin.
Five-and-a-half years after the assassination of the prime
minister Yitzchak Rabin, Raviv's trial was set to open last
week at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court after an earlier
three-month postponement handed down in March.
The spring delay, which also came 24 hours before the trial
was to be begin, resulted from the prosecution's decision to
appeal the Magistrate's Court ruling allowing the defense to
see much of the prosecution's trial documents, among them
classified GSS documents -- a ruling which, like most others
in this ultra-sensitive case, was reached behind closed
With the state attorney's appeal to the Jerusalem District
Court still pending, the Magistrate's Court said that
starting the trial today would be "pointless," and acceded
to the requests of both sides to put off the trial.
A longtime critic of the State's Attorney's Office for its
handling of the affair, Likud MK Michael Eitan charged even
before the latest postponement that the whole trial was the
prosecution's "dirty games," meant to "hide the whole affair
from the public.
"The prosecution and State's Attorney will do everything in
their power to ensure that the Israeli public does not find
out the truth behind this sordid affair," he charged,
adding, "The whole trial, which was in itself forced on
them, is one big joke."
MK Benny Elon said that it is hard to understand the reasons
for this, but hinted that the GSS and the State Prosecution
are working together against holding the trial.
"For instance," Elon told Arutz-7, "Raviv's lawyer, who
asked for the latest postponement, is Eitan Peleg -- a long-
time GSS agent who was the one to file suit against the
journalist who first revealed Raviv's GSS codename."
Many feel that Raviv's pre-assassination actions make him
liable for prosecution not only for not preventing Rabin's
death, but also for encouraging it.
"I have nothing against Raviv," Elon said. "I am interested
in his trial being held so that once and for all he will
open his mouth and tell us what really happened in this
Arutz-7's Adir Zik recounts the history: "Attorney-General
Elyakim Rubenstein announced that he would hand down the
indictment in November '98. It was finally handed down only
in April '99, with the first session scheduled for July.
This date was pushed off until September, then was pushed
off again, and the first session was on Oct 3, 1999. The
next session was to take place over two months later, in
December, but was pushed off until Feb 22, 2000."
Between then and now there was exactly one more session;
another one was supposed to have been in February of this
year, but that was pushed off until last week, at which time
it was again postponed.
A former Kach activist who was recruited by the GSS as a
paid informer as early as 1987, Raviv, 34, is charged with
failing to notify the authorities of Yigal Amir's intention
to assassinate Rabin.
He is also facing charges of conspiracy, incitement, and
supporting a terrorist organization for statements he made
at a staged televised swearing-in ceremony for the Eyal
extremist youth group, which he formed without the knowledge
or permission of his operators.
If convicted on all charges, Raviv could face up to 12 years
in prison, legal experts say.
According to the indictment of April 1999, in 1995 Raviv had
learned first- hand from Amir on several occasions that he
was planning to kill Rabin, but never reported this vital
information to his operators.
Two and a half months before the November 4 assassination,
Raviv briefed his operators and, according to the
indictment, stated that Amir was an extremist but that his
plans of action were "not concrete," and that in his
estimation they were aimed at Arabs.
At no time, the charge sheet continues, did Raviv tell his
operators of Amir's repeated statements that he planned on
killing the premier, and even told them that he had never
heard Amir speak in favor of such a plan.