JERUSALEM -- As hundreds of angry Jews clashed with police outside his office yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin defended the Mideast peace accord and accused his opponents of inciting violence with scare stories of a Palestinian-controlled Jerusalem.
"I'll put it simply: It's a political outrage," Mr. Rabin told a caucus of his Labor Party. "There is no disagreement regarding the unity of Jerusalem, our sovereignty over it or its continuation as the capital of Israel."
Mr. Rabin's remarks were part of a government offensive against rightist leaders who oppose the peace agreement and used Friday's return of Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat, after 27 years in exile, to rally tens of thousands to their cause.
Only hours before, one of the largest anti-government rallies in Jerusalem's modern history turned ugly as thousands of Jews took to the streets late Saturday, some throwing rocks at Arab-owned shops, burning cars and defying riot police.
Yesterday, hundreds of shouting, flag-waving demonstrators gathered outside Mr. Rabin's office building in an attempt to prevent government ministers from attending the regular weekly Cabinet meeting. The government assigned bodyguards to the ministers, who entered and left the building by a side entrance.
The protesters taunted riot police from a makeshift "tent city," which government opponents set up opposite Mr. Rabin's office a month ago. Some blew whistles and banged pans, hoping to be heard inside the Cabinet meeting.
Police said 65 demonstrators were arrested, and four were slightly injured. No charges were filed, and most protesters were later released.
In their Cabinet meeting, Mr. Rabin and his ministers lashed out at the protesters and right-wing leaders, accusing them of inciting violence with allegations that the government plans to turn Jerusalem over to the Palestinians. Mr. Rabin said the weekend protests, and the property damage that resulted, had "gone beyond the bounds of legitimate political dissent."