TEL AVIV (May. 24)
Chief of Staff Gen. Rafael Eitan said yesterday that the army was not aware of any Syrian troop movements near Israel’s borders but it would complete an assessment of the latest Syrian maneuvers within the next few days.
He said there has been no change of policy by the terrorists in Lebanon, but was not certain whether there has been an easing of tensions along the northern border. He declined to speculate about a general flare-up there.
Speaking on Israel Radio, Eitan defended the army’s use of force against Arab rioters on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He referred to complaints of 13 former officers, most of senior rank that the military maxim of restricted use of fire-arms against civilians to avoid unnecessary bloodshed was endangered by the recent shooting of Arab demonstrators in the territories.
According to Eitan, the soldiers had not deviated from “military norms” and all charges of improper behavior were rigorously examined. The officer in charge of the central command said over the weekend that deviations from the norm were “exceptions” and were punished.