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Dayan Reveals He Tried to Arrange Meeting with Arafat, Nasser in 1968

Former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan reveals in his new autobiography that in 1968 he tried to arrange a meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat and Egyptian President Gamal Nasser, but failed. Details of his autobiography, due to be published this week in Hebrew and English, were presented last night on Israel television by Dan Raviv, a reporter who had said the galleys of the book. He said he found political and military information which was never before published.

Dayan relates that he made an attempt to arrange a meeting between himself and Nasser, to find out if the Egyptian President was ready to make an agreement with Israel. In 1968, in his efforts to meet with Arafat. Dayan was prepared to release from prison a Palestinian terrorist and send him as an emissary to Arafat in order to arrange the meeting.

In his book, Dayan writes that the prisoner refused to be set free for this purpose. However, the poet, Fadua Touckan, agreed to make an effort to arrange the meeting with Dayan, but she did not succeed. In other revelations, Dayan states that the late David Elazar, who commanded the army during the Yom Kippur War, was not his candidate for Chief of Staff, but Dayan accepted Premier Golda Meir’s decision to appoint Elazar.

Dayan also writes that there were “basic disagreements” between Elazar and himself after the first two days of the war. Dayan said he could not share Elazar’s optimism and maintained that the Israeli army would not be able to stop the Egyptians from crossing the Suez Canal. Thus, Dayan said, he suggested that all the army bunkers at the canal should be evacuated.

During the past few days Dayan seems to have embarked on a “comeback” course. After a long period of silence he gave a stream of interviews to the local and foreign press during the course of which he presented a number of criticisms of Israel’s foreign policy. The “comeback” also appears to have been timed for the momentary appearance of a new daily, “Hayom Haze” (This Day) of which Dayan is chief editor.

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