JERUSALEM (Mar. 31)
Premier Yitzhak Rabin angrily accused Israel’s pro-Moscow Rakah Communist Party today of fomenting yesterday’s Arab general strike and violence in an attempt “to tear up the fabric of cooperation between Jews and Arabs built up over the past 28 years.” He promised, however, that there would be a full investigation by the government into yesterday’s events, the most serious disturbances by Israeli Arabs since the State was founded.
The Premier spoke in reply to a no-confidence motion filed by the Rakah faction, headed by Meir Wilner. The motion was presented to a virtually empty Knesset. The coalition parties and the opposition Likud absented themselves in protest against what they decried as Communist hypocrisy in inciting the general strike and then demanding a no-confidence vote against the government because of the violence their incitement engendered.
Apart from the four Rakah MKs and Meir Payil of the leftist Moked faction, no one was present to hear the motion introduced by Wilner. Addressing empty seats, he railed against the government from the rostrum, shouting, “Murderers do you now flee, cowards?” Later, all parties voted against the Rakah motion except for Marcia Freedman of the Social Democrats, a recently formed splinter group, and Moked. The latter abstained, denouncing extremism on both sides.
REGRETS ‘POINTLESS DEATHS’
Rabin expressed regrets for the “pointless deaths” caused by yesterday’s violence and wished speedy recovery to the injured, police and soldiers and Arab civilians alike. He praised the manner in which the law enforcement authorities handled the situation, declaring that no country could permit such disorders. He said he was “happy to learn that most Israeli Arabs did not heed those who tried to incite them and continued their normal way of life.”
Rabin noted that “some of them used their legal democratic rights to hold peaceful demonstrations. But in some places there were instances of breaches of the peace and rioting against security forces.” He said that the ongoing efforts by successive governments, by Histadrut and by the various political parties to give expression to Israeli Arabs’ full and equal rights had gained a large measure of success over the years.