Abie Nathan Gets 18 Months in Jail for Meeting with PLO

Abie Nathan was sentenced by a Ramla court Sunday to 18 months in prison for violating the law banning contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The 64-year-old peace activist readily admitted meeting with PLO chief Yasir Arafat in Tunis last June and said he would do it again because talking to “the enemy” is the only way to peace. He called the ban a “political and legal monstrosity.”

Nathan said he would appeal his sentence, which includes an additional 18 months suspended that can be activated at any time within three years.

He vowed, nevertheless, to seek another meeting with Arafat whenever he is released.

Magistrate Avraham Tal, who pronounced sentence, noted that the 18-month prison term includes the one-year suspended sentence imposed on Nathan last year for an earlier PLO meeting.

He was also sentenced at that time to seven months in jail. He was released after four months.

Nathan, who must report to prison Thursday, announced that his unlicensed, floating radio station, the Voice of Peace, will be silent for the duration of his incarceration.

It will be the first suspension in 15 years of the peace messages, pop music and paid commercials broadcast from Nathan’s ship just outside Israel’s territorial waters.

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