JERUSALEM — Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir today said Jewish settlers accused of attacking Arabs on the occupied West Bank are "basically good boys" and vowed to win a pardon for the 25 men.
His pledge followed a furor over Israel's swap of 1,150 Arab prisoners Monday for three Israeli soldiers captured during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
Shamir was prime minister when 25 Jewish settlers were arrested in April, 1984, for a reign of anti-Arab violence.
They were charged with maiming two West Bank mayors in 1980, killing three Islamic students in Hebron in 1983 and planting bombs on Arab civilian buses. So far, nine have either pleaded guilty or been convicted.
Shamir drew a distinction between the Jewish suspects and the 1,150 released Arabs, 76 of whom were convicted of murder by military courts.