WASHINGTON (Jun. 6)
About 75 persons participated in a two-hour rally yesterday in Lafayette Park across from the White House to mark the first anniversary of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and 16 years of Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank.
One of the speakers at the rally, sponsored by the Washington Area Jews for an Israeli-Palestinian Peace, was Richard Arens, professor of law at the University of Bridgeport, Conn., and a brother of Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens.
“Israeli human rights violations have been conspicuous since 1967, although they existed before then,” Arens charged. He said that “approximately 30,000 Israeli settlers occupy the West Bank, which began as a creeping annexation and developed into a galloping one.”
Arens accused the Israelis of using torture “as a routine tactic in police interrogation.” He accused the government of Premier Menachem Begin of trying “to clear the West Bank of its rightful inhabitants,” adding that this has “been hampered by the invasion of Lebanon, a violation of the Nuremberg principles, which expressly prohibit aggressive war, to say nothing of the Sabra and Shatila massacres.”
I. F. Stone, journalist and frequent critic of Israel, asked,” how can we appeal for equal treatment for Jews in Russia or Poland when there isn’t equal treatment of Arabs not only of the occupied territory but within Israel itself?” He noted that Jews seek full citizenship in other countries, “foremost among them America,” while “a Jewish state denies those liberties not only to Arabs but to Jews who are not Orthodox, and have not undergone proper conversion.”
After the rally a group delivered a letter to the White House, addressed to President Reagan, which said: “we call on the American Government to demand that Israel withdraw from the settlements in the occupied territory. We urge the United States to call for unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon, and their replacement by UNIFIL forces to insure the safety of all the inhabitants of Lebanon.”