The Palestinian Revolt-And the Israeli Response

The Palestinian Revolt-And the Israeli Response

On Wednesday, January 20, the Peace Now movement held a meeting to protest the Israeli government’s handling of the Arab uprising on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. It was a wet, cold Jerusalem night, and the mood of the few hundred people crowded inside the hall (normally used for weddings) was tense, somber.

As the revolt had mounted from late in December, close to thirty Arabs had been shot dead in clashes with the troops and hundreds of others had received bullet wounds. Now, to try to cut down on the fatality rate, a new strategy of massed baton charges had just been introduced by the army. The speakers of the evening were all high-ranking reserve officers who one after the other condemned both the prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir, for having consistently, over a period of years, sabotaged every diplomatic peace initiative and also the defense minister, Yitzhak Rabin, for his determination to break the resistance in ways both fast and furious or (in his own words) by “force, might, and beatings.”

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