Israeli justice minister attacks deportations

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The Independent Online
JERUSALEM - The first sign of an Israeli government split over the Palestinian deportations opened up last night when David Libai, the Minister of Justice, strongly attacked the decision and launched a thinly veiled attack on the Prime Minister, Yitzak Rabin, for bypassing him when the decision was taken, writes Sarah Helm.

Mr Libai's criticism, three weeks after the 415 suspected supporters of militant Islamic groups were deported from the occupied West Bank and Gaza, chimed with many of the criticisms voiced by Palestinian leaders. 'In effect, the authorities have given themselves the possibility to put people . . . on buses or on a boat and deport them without giving them any right to be heard to prove they are the right people or to prove whether suspicions against them have any basis or not,' he said.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the deportees, Abdul Aziz al- Rantisi, hailed as 'positive' a warning by the UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, that he might recommend Security Council action to force Israel to take back the expelled men.

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