JERUSALEM (May. 27)
Yigal Yadin, who distinguished himself as an army commander during Israel’s 1948 war for independence and later served as Chief of Staff, has indicated that he may form a new political faction that would advocate negotiations with any representative Palestinian leader–and if that happened to be PLO chieftain Yasir Arafat, “then so be it.”
Yadin, an internationally prominent archaeologist since leaving the army, made his remarks Tuesday night during an hour-long television interview in which he made it plain that his political ambition was to achieve the Premiership. He said that if he thought a new political list with strong “dove-ish” leanings could “hold the balance” between the two major blocs–Labor and Likud–he would head such a list and seek to capture a following large enough to head a government coalition. He said he would be “testing the waters” during the next few months before deciding whether to enter next year’s Knesset elections.
Yadin said of his political credo that he firmly believed in a “democratic Israel” and in a “Jewish Israel.” He maintained that if the West Bank remained under Israeli rule, neither of those two vital conditions could be fulfilled.
Only last week, Foreign Minister Yigal Allon spoke in the same vein when he admonished annexationist that if Israel perpetuated military rule over the West Bank it would not be a democratic state and if it absorbed the West Bank’s Arab population with full and equal rights as citizens, it would cease to be a Jewish State.
NO RETURN TO PRE-1967 LINES
Yadin stressed that he did not favor Israel’s return to its pre-June. 1967 borders because certain strategically important positions must be retained. He opposed the creation of a third state between “the desert and the sea” and seemed to envisage peace with a single Palestinian state that would embrace present-day Jordan and much of the West Bank. He said, however, that he favored negotiating with an authentic representative of the Palestinians, even Arafat, rather than with King Hussein. “What difference does it make if it is Arafat or anyone else? We want to talk peace with an authoritative partner.” Yadin said.
Reactions to Yadin’s remarks were mixed in political circles. Likud officials expressed confidence that a dove-ish list headed by Yadin would take no votes away from them. Some Labor doves appeared apprehensive, however, that a list headed by the charismatic Yadin would make inroads in their own constituencies.
But other Laborites welcomed a new list on grounds that if it proved strong enough to gain about 10 Knesset seats it would make an ideal coalition partner to replace the National Religious Party which they saw as turning more and more nationalistic under pressure from its “young guard.”