JERUSALEM (Nov. 4)
Deputy Premier Yigal Allon hotly defended Israel’s policies in the occupied territories yesterday and denied allegations by the foreign editor of the London Times, E.C. Hodgkin, that the occupation was cruel, repressive and aimed at driving out the Arabs. Mr. Allon, addressing a Joint Palestine Appeal study mission from Britain, claimed that “ours is the most enlightened military government in history.”
Mr. Hodgkin’s report on a visit to Gaza and the West Bank, published in the Times on Oct. 30, stirred a violent reaction from Israel sympathizers in and out of Parliament and an equivalent response from the opposite camp. The Times published an editorial last week defending the integrity of Mr. Hodgkin’s reportage. He had alleged that Israeli occupation forces destroyed 7,140 Arab houses, meted out harsh sentences to Arab resistors and sometimes tortured them.
Mr. Allon observed that Israel does not have capital punishment and has no intention of introducing it, even for terrorists who kill innocent civilians. He defended the policy of blowing up terrorist-owned houses and supplies as “a necessary and effective means” of restricting terrorist activities. In other remarks, Mr. Allon assured that “Israel has no less claim to the Sinai-peninsula than Egypt” and said Israel would continue to establish settlements in the Sinai in keeping with in keeping with its security needs.
Other Israeli circles denied today that any officials had threatened residents of the occupied territories with mass deportation. They said Israel’s policy is to let every inhabitant continue his normal daily life. But the expulsion of three headmen of the Bedouin Tamara tribe in the Judean Hills was announced today by the commanding officer of the Judaea-Samaria region. Brig. Gen. Rafael Vardi. The three deported to Jordan, were accused of involvement in sabotage activities in the Hebron area recently which included the firing of Katyusha rockets at a suburb of Jerusalem. A fourth tribal headman on the wanted list is believed to have fled to Jordan. The Bedouin tribesmen are believed to have aided terrorists in transporting the rockets to the firing site. Children of the tribe reportedly helped carry the shells.
Israeli circles conceded today that there was an apparent increase in cooperation between local Arabs on the West Bank and saboteurs. They recalled a recent statement by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan who offered the Arabs three alternatives: Cooperate with Israeli authorities in fighting terrorists; report terrorist activities to authorities, or do nothing. Gen. Dayan warned that if they chose the third alternative, Israel would have to take counter-measures that could make life unbearable for the local residents. Israeli circles stated further that there was no policy of communal punishment. They said blowing up of houses in Halhul village, near Hebron, and in Gaza were the direct result of investigations which pointed to at least passive cooperation by the owners with known terrorists in the region. Eighteen houses were destroyed in Halhul and eight in Gaza.