JERUSALEM (Jun. 24)
An Israel Defense Force colonel, charged with ordering his troops to break the bones of Arab villagers in January 1988, has blamed the brutality on Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s defense minister at the time.
Col. Yehuda Meir testified at his trial last week that specific instructions to beat Arabs in confrontations in the West Bank came from Rabin, who said he would handle “noise” from the press.
He also implicated the IDF chief of staff, Gen. Dan Shomron, and Maj. Gen. Amram Mitzna, who at that time headed the IDF Central Command, which includes the West Bank.
“The permission to beat, which was given by the defense minister, the chief of staff and Mitzna, immediately created a situation which invited abuse per se. The army began behaving like a bunch of hooligans,” Meir testified.
Rabin confirmed over the weekend that he instructed units confronting violent demonstrations to beat up the rioters. But he said that “those who acted according to those instructions were not put on trial.”
“The trial of Col. Meir, to the best of my knowledge, relates to beatings which were carried out while not confronting violence,” Rabin said.