Knesset Members from Right and Left Urge Abie Nathan to End Hunger Strike

Knesset members from across the political spectrum joined Tuesday to introduce a motion urging Israeli peace activist Abie Nathan to end his hunger strike, now in its fourth week.

But most of their colleagues balked at attaching an amendment that would nullify the law which Nathan is protesting. It forbids contact with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The Knesset motion, which appeals to Nathan on grounds that his life is imperiled, was a procedural rarity requiring the approval of Knesset Speaker Dov Shilansky, a Likud hawk.

It was sponsored jointly by Reuven Rivlin of Likud, Moshe Shahal of the Labor Party and Yossi Sarid of the Citizens Rights Movement.

They hope for unanimous Knesset endorsement. But Labor’s Knesset faction voted Tuesday against a request by one of its members, Yossi Beilin, for permission to introduce the amendment nullifying the PLO contact law.

Beilin, an leading dove, said it was intended only to permit Israelis to attend international events at which the PLO was present.

But most of the faction sided with Labor hard-liner Michael Bar-Zohar, who warned that the public would see the amendment as a legitimation of the PLO by the Labor Party.

Amnon Rubinstein of the Center-Shinui Movement said he would introduce the amendment.

Nathan has been subsisting on water and fruit juices since April 29. The 60-year-old activist was hospitalized on the 17th day of the fast last week, when his doctor detected an irregular heartbeat. But his condition soon stabilized.

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