JERUSALEM (Jan. 6)
Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, responding to no-confidence motions in the Knesset Wednesday, upheld Israel’s right under the law to expel Palestinian trouble-makers from the administered territories.
He also sought to justify certain measures taken by security forces to quell disturbances which have been criticized in Israel and abroad. He said it was sometimes necessary to arrest youngsters, citing an incident in Nablus where a 12-year-old girl threw a gasoline bomb at Israeli troops.
Rabin said there were a total of 1,978 arrests made since rioting broke out in the administered territories on Dec. 9, but that 900 of the detainees have been released. Another 300 were prosecuted and six were acquitted. Earlier Wednesday, the Israel Defense Force indicated that 350 of the detainees had been freed.
The no-confidence motions were introduced for different reasons by four left-wing parties and the right-wing extremist Kach party. The leftist parties protested the deportation orders against nine Palestinian activists. Kach wants every Arab expelled from both Israel and the administered territories.
A Labor member of the Knesset, attorney David Libai, maintained that the deportations violate international law. But his arguments failed to move the defense minister, who insisted that deportation was entirely legal under “the law that binds us.”
Israeli officials in general have been especially sensitive to the American charge that deportation contravenes the 1949 Geneva Convention protecting residents of occupied territories.
Rabin and others deny this. They say the Geneva Conventions do not strictly apply to the West Bank or Gaza Strip, because these territories are not occupied soil of any sovereign country.
Rabin visited the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after his appearance in the Knesset. The defenseminister encountered some burning roadblocks and other scenes of unrest, but no major demonstrations.
He told reporters that despite sporadic incidents of violence, he believes the turbulence in the territories is dying down. He said the Israel Defense Force is succeeding in its “gradual efforts to bring about more tranquility. I believe we will achieve it, ” Rabin said.