TEL AVIV (Jan. 19)
Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin warned Arab countries this week that there will be dire consequences if they dare to use chemical weapons against Israel.
“Israel will not tolerate even anyone thinking about using this kind of means against us,” Rabin told a group of visiting State of Israel Bonds leaders from the United States, Europe and Latin America.
Israel has known for some time of Libya’s plans to produce chemical weapons, he said. “Therefore, we consider Libya one of our most dangerous potential enemies.
“We have tried to make it clear to the Arab countries” leaders that Israel is not Iran, and whoever dares to use this kind of weapon against Israeli military units or against Israeli civilian targets will be clobbered 100 times or more,” Rabin said.
Speaking to the Bonds leaders Tuesday, the defense minister also addressed the increased use of plastic and rubber bullets by the Israel Defense Force against Palestinian rioters in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Although intended to reduce fatalities, they have often been as lethal as live ammunition.
The IDF has just expanded the use of plastic bullets. They now may be fired by senior non-commissioned officers in life-threatening situations. Previously only a commissioned officer was authorized to fire them.
Rabin insisted that the rubber and plastic bullets used in the field are no different from those used by police forces all over the world to control rioting. He said their purpose is to inflict injury and pain. He admitted they could kill at close range.
The Bonds leaders, who were on a three-day international leadership mission, also met this week with Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and other Cabinet ministers.