Yaad Faces Split over Issue of Negotiating with the Palestinians

The issue of negotiating with the Palestine Liberation Organization threatened today to split the left-of-center Yaad faction formed earlier this year by former Cabinet Minister Shulamit Aloni and former Labor Party official Arye Eliav, Yaad has four seats in the Knesset.

The schism developed last week when Eliav and other prominent Yaad adherents announced the formation of a Committee for Peace Between Israel and the Palestinians which has as its program negotiations with the PLO and recognition of the Palestinians’ right to a national state. The committee’s members include Res. Gen. Mati Peled, journalist and former MK Uri Avneri, David Shaham, Amos Kenan, Moked MK Meir Payil, and Marsha Friedman of Yaad.

Ms. Aloni, though an outspoken “dove,” claimed at a Yaad meeting yesterday that the committee was going too far. She said that while Yaad differed sharply with the Rabin government on foreign and domestic policy issues, it supported the government’s refusal to have any dealings with the PLO. She said it was not possible for political figures such as Eliav to form a peace committee on a personal basis and likened it to Communist Party cells that infiltrated democratic movements to try to drag them further to the left.

Aloni was supported by Boaz Moav, a colleague of her Civil Rights Party, which she formed after quitting the Labor Party during the administration of Premier Golda Meir. The Yaad secretariate was scheduled to meet later today to try to heal the breach.

PRESSING WITH DIALOGUE WITH THE PLO

The Eliav faction is pressing for a dialogue with the PLO on the grounds that Israel has negotiated interim agreements with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Hafez Assad of Syria, neither of whom recognizes Israel at this time. “If we sit with them and negotiate, why should we not talk with the Palestinians and their representatives which is now the PLO?” Kenan asked on a radio interview.

The split in Yaad parallels in a way the differences within Premier Yitzhak Rabin’s Labor Alignment over negotiations with the Palestinians. But Rabin’s colleagues, who include several ranking Cabinet ministers, have not gone so far as to suggest that Israel deal with the PLO. Their formula has been that Israel should indicate its willingness to negotiate with any group of Palestinians who first recognize Israel’s right to exist. The PLO’s official policy calls for the replacement of Israel by a secular democratic state.

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