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2000 People at Peace Now Rally

The Peace Now Movement, quiescent since the Camp David agreements last September, renewed its activities yesterday with a brief but colorful “settlement” attempt on the street outside Premier Menachem Begin Jerusalem residence All the equipment of a “settlement,” including a huge bulldozer, barbed wire fencing and tents were employed as props in the generally good-natured effort by Peace Now to express its protest at the government’s supposed agreement to allow Gush Emunim a new settlement near Nablus. Before pitching camp at the Premier’s home some 2000 Peace Now people held a rally at nearby Independence Park. Speakers expressed concern at what they felt was Israeli foot-dragging over the peace negotiations, and particularly at the Emunim settlement efforts which, they believed, could torpedo the chances of peace. They sent a letter to Begin urging him not to cave in to Emunim pressures.

Peace Now leader Omri Padan told reporters he had spoken to Begin’s political secretary, Yehiel Kadishai, on the telephone and had been assured that the government had made no specific promises to Emunim regarding a date or place for a settlement near Nablus. Padan said Kadishai had indicated the Premier would make this clear in a written reply to the Peace Now letter to him.

In Tel Aviv, meanwhile, Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan told an audience yesterday that he would oppose any proposal to put up a Jewish town alongside Nablus and he hoped other ministers would oppose it too. He termed such a proposal “senseless an idiotic” from both a political and settlement part of view. Dayan was speaking at the Bamah political and economic forum which is organized mainly by the ultra-rightwing La am faction of Likud. It was clear from other speakers that many or most participants at the forum differed from Dayan on this issue.

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