Rabin Meets With Arabs, Says Uprising Is Waning
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin today said he opened a dialogue with Palestinians, including supporters of the PLO, because the Arabs should now realize their uprising in the occupied lands has failed.
″I have met with those thought to be tending more to the PLO, to Jordan. I intend to continue meeting with people who represent different layers and points of view,″ he told Israel radio.
Rabin met Monday with four local Palestinian leaders, the second such session in less than a week.
″It is only natural that at this stage of, I hope, the start of a thought that by stones and firebombs they can achieve nothing, there’s a place to start a dialogue,″ Rabin said today.
The Palestinian leaders presented Rabin with a list of requests to ease restrictions and what they termed ″collective punishment measures″ in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, Arab participants said.
Rabin said he told the Palestinians that ″the more we move towards quiet, the lighter would be the means used ... and ... we have no intention to take revenge when what they call the intifada (Arab for uprising) is over.″
But Palestinian participants said Rabin could not predict any significant political movement.
″The minister said the (U.S. Secretary of State George) Shultz initiative has missed the train and we can’t expect anything″ from the U.S.-Soviet Moscow summit, said Yasser Obeid, head of the West Bank health services.
He also quoted Rabin as saying ″until the elections in Israel and the United States and maybe six months after ... we cannot expect an active political process to start.″
An Israeli soldier, meanwhile, was indicted Monday on a charge of manslaughter in the killing of an Arab in the Gaza Strip, the army command said. The Maariv newspaper said the soldier shot the Arab from a distance of about two feet while talking to him.
The occupied territories were mostly quiet after Monday’s less than successful strike. It faltered when thousands of Palestinians ignored orders by underground leaders to stay away from their jobs in Israel.
Since violent protests began in the occupied lands on Dec. 8, 198 Palestinians and two Israelis have been killed.
The Israeli-owned news agency Itim quoted Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir as saying Monday that the end of the uprising is in sight. ″The dying down of the violence is clear and certain,″ Shamir told the agency.
Shamir’s chief rival, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, also said in remarks broadcast on Israel radio that Palestinians were starting to question the value of the uprising. He said they were asking: ″Where does all this lead to? What are all these strikes, stones and bottles?″
Hanna Nasser, a Bethlehem businessman who participated in Monday’s meeting with Rabin, said: ″It was a good thing to meet with him and exchange ideas.″
Other participants in the meeting included Othman Hallak, editor of the An Nahar newspaper in east Jerusalem, and Yasser Obeid, head of the health services in the West Bank. Nasser said the meeting was requested by Rabin.
″We talked briefly about the situation, the uprising,″ Nasser said. ″It was a discussion of domestic affairs, nothing political.″
The Palestinians, according to Nasser, asked Rabin to free all the Arab detainees, especially students supposed to attend classes, to stop demanding tax payment certificates for official transactions and to ease restrictions limiting the sums the Arabs are allowed to bring into the country.
″Rabin promised to examine that question individually and to check closely the cases of arrests,″ Nasser said. ″I don’t know if these promises are going to be fulfilled. He said it depends on how far the uprising will go.″
The army, meanwhile, said that Pvt. Yakov Tamir confessed and was indicted on Monday in the killing an Arab on Jan. 10 in Gaza City. The military court verdict was expected Sunday, it said.
Maariv wrote that Tamir started to talk to a Palestinian after a car he was travelling in was stoned. Passengers in the vehicle, the newspaper said, began to incite Tamir and he shot the Arab in the stomach. The army declined comment.