JERUSALEM (Dec. 15)
Premier Yitzhak Shamir today flatly rejected demands by West Bank settlers for harsher punishment of Arab stone-throwers. He said the problem was “marginal” and that while it must be eradicated, there was no need for a change of policy in the territory.
Shamir made his remarks during a tour of West Bank settlements. The rock-throwers, he said, were “marginal and unimportant elements in the Arab public. ” Stone-throwing was not typical of relations between Arabs and Jews in the territory, the Prime Minister asserted and he appealed to Jewish settlers to exercise self control.
He conceded that the problem was difficult to solve. It is currently under study he said and assured the settlers that the Defense Minister and the Chief of Staff will find ways to end breaches of public order. President Chaim Herzog meanwhile strongly condemned a group calling itself “terror against terror” consisting apparently of Jewish extremists who terrorize the Arab population.
The group, which claimed credit for planting booby-trapped hand grenades at Moslem and Christian religious sites in East Jerusalem, must be outrooted by harsh measures, Herzog said today at ceremonies honoring civil guard volunteers. The planting of grenades was “a despicable crime” he said, referring to what is believed to have been an act of retaliation for the bombing of a Jerusalem bus last week in which five persons were killed and 45 injured.
Herzog noted that prominent Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza had condemned the bombing for which the Palestine Liberation Organization took credit. An equally heinous crime was the fatal shooting of an II year-old Arab girl in Nablus a week ago, Herzog said. Nobody has the right to take the law into his own hands, the President declared.