Army Officers Meet with Rabin, Express Support for Peace Policy

Several dozen reserve army officers joined a group of mayors, diplomats and academics outside the Prime Minister’s Office to show their support for the government’s peace policy.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin met with the group Wednesday and thanked them for their support.

“The fact that you are here is encouraging,” Rabin said.

He added that anti-government extremists were doing exactly what fundamentalist groups opposed to the peace process want.

Militant Islamic fundamentalists view Israel’s right wing “as a lever to achieve their goal,” Rabin said.

Shlomo Lahat, former Tel Aviv mayor and army general, said representatives of the Council for Peace and Security, a group of army officers he heads, recently met with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and with the chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Ori Orr.

Lahat said his council was reassured by the explanations of the evolving agreement for extending Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank.

“We believe that the government is going in the right direction in regard to security,” he told Israel Radio.

The gathering of supporters took place near the same site where opposition Knesset members and right-wing activists held a weeklong hunger strike against the peace process.

The hunger strike, which ended Tuesday, coincided with the seven-day mourning period for the victims of the Aug. 21 suicide of a bus in Jerusalem’s Ramat Eshkol neighborhood. Five people, including the bomber, died in the attack, which injured more than 100 others.

One of those injured in the attack, Atila Elbaz, had sustained life-threatening injuries to her aorta in the blast.

But after a long and complicated surgical procedure – and a recovery described as a medical miracle – she got out of bed Saturday and was interviewed on the television evening news.

Doctors expect to release her from Hadassah Hospital later in the week.

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