JERUSALEM (Nov. 26)
Divergent opinions on the best way of dealing with Arab terrorism against civilians emerged today in the Knesset (Parliament) which began a debate on last Friday’s explosion in the Mehane Yehudah vegetable market here in which 12 persons were killed and 55 injured. According to one speaker who quoted Ministry of Defense figures, the blast was the 301st terrorist attack on civilians since the June, 1967 war, as distinct from attacks on military targets.
Most speakers believed there was no military means of stamping out terrorism altogether and felt it would end only when there is a political settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict. They opposed the death sentence for terrorists on grounds that it would turn them into martyrs and heroes in the Arab world. Other speakers, notably Dr. Yochanan Bader of the Gahal (Herut-Liberal alignment) and Itzhak Rafael of the National Religious Party, demanded stern measures against the Arab population. Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz of the Orthodox Agudat Israel complained of lack of understanding shown by world opinion. He compared it to “equanimity” he alleged was shown even by leaders of enlightened nations when Jews were being killed by the Nazis during World War II and when Israel’s survival seemed at slake on the eve of the June, 1967 war. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon told a public meeting that the market place disaster justifies sterner judicial measures against saboteurs.
In related developments, three shells from a Russian-type 130mm. Katyusha rocket launcher were fired from Jordanian territory yesterday at Massada and Shaar Hagolan, settlements south of Lake Tiberias. No casualties or damage were reported. The Katyusha was used by El Fatah in recent attacks on Beisan and Eilat, A wounded El Fatah saboteur who was hit in a recent encounter with Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley hailed an Israeli patrol and surrendered today. He had been hiding for two days under dense vegetation. The captive’s wounds were treated and he was questioned.