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Sasson Tells Knesset Israel Plans No Collective Punishment of Arabs

Police Minister Eliahu Sasson told the Knesset (Parliament) yesterday that the Israel Government does not intend to impose collective punishment on the Arab population despite recent terrorist outrages against civilians. He spoke in reply to eight agenda motions presented during debate on last Friday’s explosion in the Machane Yehuda market. He said that as a result of the latest terrorist acts, the time may be ripe to reappraise prison conditions for convicted saboteurs and to consider more stringent judicial measures against them. He added that there would be no change in the Government policy of not identifying Jerusalem’s Arabs as a whole with the terrorists. This policy will stand, he declared, although no Arab civic or religious leaders in East Jerusalem had demonstrated the moral courage to publicly condemn the bombing. Mr. Sasson said that Israel’s prisons today hold more than 1,700 terrorists, either serving sentences or awaiting trial. Additional hundreds of terrorists have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces. He said Israel viewed the terror as part of a wide-ranging political and military campaign directed by forces beyond Israel’s borders and outside of the occupied Arab territories.

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