JERUSALEM (Jun. 2)
Four Israelis who met with Palestine Liberation Organization representatives in Romania in November 1986 were found guilty in the Ramla magistrates court Thursday of violating Israel’s 1948 prevention of terrorism act.
The law, as amended in August 1986, was interpreted by the court as forbidding Israelis from having contacts with members of organizations outlawed by the state.
The conviction was the first handed down under the amended law. Sentencing is scheduled for later this month. The defendants face up to three years in prison.
Convicted were Eliezer Feiler, Reuven Kaminer, Latif Dori and Yael Lotan, the leaders of an Israeli delegation that met with PLO representatives at a seaside resort in Romania.
Feiler belongs to Kibbutz Yad Hanna. Kaminer is deputy director of the Hebrew University’s school for overseas students. Dori is a Mapam Party activist and Lotan writes for Al Hamishmar, the Mapam newspaper.
The four plan to appeal the conviction. Their lawyer, Amnon Zichroni, said the 1948 law did not apply in this case, because the purpose of the meeting in Romania was “to further the cause of peace and to end the bloodshed in this country.”
He said the meeting did nothing to further the cause of terrorism and therefore did not violate the law’s intent. But the court decided otherwise.
According to Lotan, its ruling was “a very narrow interpretation of the law.” She denied prosecution charges that the meeting was held only three months after the anti-contact amendment was passed as a deliberate provocation to test the law.