TEL AVIV (Jul. 5)
Former Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin has flatly denied allegations that he gave orders to break the bones of Palestinian rioters shortly after the intifada began in December 1987.
Speaking at a meeting with members of the Foreign Press Association here Wednesday, Rabin said there was no evidence to back up such charges should he ever have to answer in court or before a commission of inquiry.
He referred to the contention by several senior Israel Defense Force officers facing disciplinary action for brutality that they were acting on explicit instructions from Defense Minister Rabin when soldiers under their command tied and beat Palestinians.
Rabin explained to the journalists that in the early days of the intifada, the IDF was faced with the previously unknown phenomenon of widespread civil disturbances.
Because he did not want to use firearms against civilians, Rabin said, he borrowed from the police force a system of riot control.
Troops were ordered to storm the rioters “beating them with fists and batons, not to punish them but to hurt them and force them to cease their assault,” Rabin said.
He said the soldiers also had orders to “handcuff and detain” the rioters.