Lest We Forget–A look back at Israel’s “Break the Bones” Policy

Special to The New York Times
Published: July 12, 1990

Israel’s Parliament decided today not to investigate charges that former Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin ordered soldiers to break the bones of Arab militants at the beginning of the Palestinian uprising.

The house rejected a motion submitted by two Parliament members to set up a special commission to investigate whether Mr. Rabin had given soldiers orders to club, kick and hit arrested Palestinians as a form of punishment.

The proposal was prompted by testimony in recent courts-martial of several soldiers charged with beating Palestinians and breaking their bones. The soldiers have testified that they were simply following orders, and many Israelis have been saying they believe the men are being abandoned by the army’s top commanders.

Defense Minister Moshe Arens, Mr. Rabin’s successor, said he opposed the commission because he believed ”the political echelon has to account to the Knesset and the voters only during the elections.”

Mr. Rabin has steadfastly denied issuing ”an illegal order or one which went against the decision of the Government.” He did say, however, that soldiers were encouraged to subdue violent Palestinans with ”the use of clubs while trying as much as possible to avoid using live ammunition” at the beginning of the uprising.

The debate over Mr. Rabin’s role in the affair comes as the former defense minister is trying to wrest leadership of the Labor Party from his longtime rival, Shimon Peres.

A nationwide survey published in The Jerusalem Post today indicated that Mr. Rabin is more popular with Israelis than Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Housing Minister Ariel Sharon, Mr. Peres or any other senior politician.

‘Force, Might and Beatings’

There is no indication that the controversy over the beatings has harmed Mr. Rabin politically.

At the start of the uprising, Mr. Rabin attracted wide attention when he said that Israeli soldiers would use ”force, might and beatings” to quash the Palestinian revolt.

Mr. Rabin and senior military commanders have maintained that the beatings were allowed only while soldiers were trying to overpower and arrest Palestinians throwing rocks and firebombs. Once an arrest was made, they said, no further hitting or clubbing was permitted.

But his account has been contradicted by testimony at the trial of one officer, Col. Yehuda Meir, who is being court-martialed for reportedly ordering his troops to arrest Arabs and then break their arms and legs.

Soldiers testifying at Colonel Meir’s trial said Mr. Rabin and other senior commanders told them privately that beatings should be used to punish Arabs known to be troublemakers.

Lieut. Eldad Ben-Moshe, a company commander under Colonel Meir, testified in April that he was told by Colonel Meir to ”break the arms and legs” of Arabs ”because the detention camps are full.”

Early this month another officer, identified only as Lieut. Col. Zvi, testified that in January 1988, Mr. Rabin ”told me to lash into them forcefully and beat them,” without restricting the beatings in any way.

In Parliament today, Mr. Rabin said, ”To the best of my memory, I never once said anywhere that bones should be broken.”

In calling for the Parliamentary investigation, Yossi Sarid, a legislator from the left-wing Citizens’ Rights Movement, said, ”The testimony from dozens of soldiers has made one thing clear: The soldiers and officers in the field heard the Defense Minister and top-ranking officers instruct them to beat Palestinians in a policy of punishment and deterrence.”

  1. #1 by SazzyLilSmartAzz on 05/19/2012 - 9:34

    These savages have never progressed out of the Stone Age. Soon, they will do to Americans as they did to the Armenians, the Ukrainians and the Palestinians. These are aliens of a bestial nature. May they all rot in eternal hell!

  2. #2 by effthegov on 05/19/2012 - 9:34

    How soon the jews forget, the way they act there making the world hate them.. even the power of the United States wont stop the “REVENGE FACTOR” I think it would be smart to end the violances against the people of the world!!

  3. #3 by Mahmoud El-Yousseph on 05/19/2012 - 9:34

    Remember, the man who issued this order to break the bones of the Palestiinians was assassinated by one his own people. That is God punishment. This is the ultimate justice. Thanks for the post and for revisiting this painful past. I remember watching a vedio clip taking by Skandinavian tv crew in which bunch of IOF were breaken the bones of a young Palestinian man. Israel screamed foul play and other Western news media would not touch the story. Wonder why? It will show the world the true nature of the occupiers: Savages & Barbaric.

  4. #4 by Henry James Garner on 05/19/2012 - 9:34

    those guys make the Gestapo look like boy scouts

  5. #5 by MCExorzist on 05/20/2012 - 9:34

    An incredible crime of human rights! but if we express ourselves in Germany against the crimes of the Zionist Israel we are persecuted and regarded as a hazard for the €U. Palestinians are not to blame for the fake of zionists German history! Our politicians do not look to Palestine, they only see the €uro money!

  6. #6 by Al on 05/20/2012 - 9:34

    How victims of the WWII have become murderers of the present time… These are the same people who have been blaming & criticizing Nazis and even Hitler, now they are even much worse than Nazis.

    I wonder how history repeats itself and people never learn from it and how so many people and countries support this kind of fascism and never see the truth… It is shame…

  7. #7 by Ingrid B on 05/20/2012 - 9:34

    cowardly, lying, brutal, depraved, savages.. If the leadership is all of those things, the populace will be also.. savagery, and depravity, are signs of a bestial mentality..

  8. #8 by Adalberto Erazo Jr. on 05/20/2012 - 9:34

    @ Al

    The jews were never victims in the first place. They have been at war with humanity for thousands of years screwing every country they go into and then running off to another place where they can do the same thing all over again. This particular group of people have been kicked out of 109 countries and sometimes more than once. This is not normal for a people who claim to be victims. This should be a red flag for people but unfortunately the rest of humanity keeps falling for their victim act allowing themselves to be screwed over again. What happened in Germany was a natural reaction to a people who were being strangulated by the jews and not something out of the ordinary when we look at the jews past criminal record. The jews have reached a point where they have basically screwed the entire world that they have essentially screwed themselves since they have no other place to escape to. That is one of the reasons why the jews created the “Samson Option” so they can hold the entire world hostage to their criminality. Only a criminal people can create such a mad doctrine where they will nuke the whole world if they don’t get their way.

  9. #9 by Patty on 05/21/2012 - 9:34

    The Jew is a predator, always has been and always will be. They were financial predators until they finally got their chance to be physical predators during the Jewish Bolshevik revolution in Russia, 1917 and now that they have this entity, Israel, from which to prey on the world of Gentiles. They are not human in the sense we may use that word. I call them humanoids. Monuments should be erected to Hitler who tried to remove these people from civilized society so they could not harm anyone anymore. There was no extermination program ( BIG JEWISH LIE ), but the Nazis were trying to figure out where to move them. Until these predators are forcefully contained in a cage, as Mark Glenn likes to say, the slaughter of Gentiles will continue. Americans won’t be spared- they already killed 3000 on 9/11.

  10. #10 by Kermit on 05/21/2012 - 9:34

    Scary to hear of beasts past, in the present tense.

  11. #11 by MCExorzist on 05/23/2012 - 9:34

    Interesting comments! So we in Germany know about the word Nazi very well: its created by zionists after the war, even like the Religion of Holocaust, its created after this stupid soap:

    so here is none a Nazi, we only love our country like every normal human do it too.

    Believe me…

    if the government of germany would admit the Holocaust is a lie, Palestine would be a free country!

    Peace for all.

  12. #12 by ruby22-kate on 05/28/2012 - 9:34

    the ‘broken bones’ vid was removed by UTube as offensive. Guess who owns UTube…..

    I’ve been exposed to the cunning propaganda/deceit that the experienced zionists developed and devised. I bring this up because as a USAn I’m aware of all the political capital that the zionists have spent on America – and it has Americans (who get their history, etc. from the movies) quite invested in the Jewish/zionist mythology. These USAers do not want the story to change – I’d go so far to say they feel heroic helping the spunky little victims defying overwhelming odds.(don’t jump on me – this is their story line, not mine.)

    Somewhere along the way US has been a victim of a silentcoup, imo the Truman administration has a lot to answer for.

    We should start by forcing the government to force AIPAC to register as an advocate for a foreign country. Not glamorous like the Flotilla, but
    We have to start somewhere, and we need achievable goals.

  1. Future Israeli PM to Consider Death Penalty for “Terrorists” | Conspiracy-o-Rama

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