Abie Nathan Vows That This Time He Will Not Be Sent to Jail Alone

Peace activist Abie Nathan said Wednesday he would name at least 200 prominent Israelis who have met with Yasir Arafat or other officials of the Palestine Liberation Organization if he is put on trial again for violation of Israel’s anti-terror law.

Nathan was reacting to Attorney General Yosef Harish’s order that police draw up a fresh indictment against him for flouting the ordinance, which bars Israelis from meeting with PLO representatives.

Nathan made no secret of his meeting with Arafat at PLO headquarters in Tunis in May, shortly after completing a six-month prison term for the same offense on previous occasions.

He was slapped with a summons when he arrived back at Ben-Gurion Airport on May 16. Nathan appeared the following day before a Petach Tikva magistrate, who released him on $5,000 bail.

Nathan, who owns and operates the “Voice of Peace” radio station, which broadcasts from a ship just outside Israeli territorial waters, has made clear he intends to challenge the anti-terror law, on the grounds that by preventing Israelis from meeting with the enemy, it is a hindrance to peacemaking.

“I hope Harish is preparing room (in jail) for about another 200 people — generals, professors and Knesset members — including some of those on the right wing who have not shown enough spunk to admit that they, too, have spoken to the PLO,” said Nathan.

“This time,” he added, “I do not plan to act like the good boy as I did last time, going quietly to prison in an attempt to have the ordinance changed.”

A militant right-wing Knesset member, meanwhile, is trying to toughen the anti-terror law.

Elyakim Ha’etzni of the Tehiya party introduced a private member’s bill that would make it a crime to participate with PLO officials in an academic colloquium or news conference.

Ha’etzni’s bill also would deport any person suspected of encouraging minors to throw stones, interfere with traffic or damage crops in connection with the intifada.

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