JERUSALEM (Nov. 12)
Israeli Justice Minister David Libai said this week the government will soon introduce promised legislation to legalize some meetings with Palestine Liberation Organization officials.
He spoke in the Knesset on Wednesday in the wake of an opposition parliamentary ploy intended to embarrass the government over its plans to allow contacts with the PLO that do not harm state security.
The current law — which has been breached by Knesset members of the ruling Labor Party and its Meretz coalition partner, as well as by Arab members of Knesset — imposes a blanket ban on meetings with PLO officials, regardless of their purpose or the motives of those concerned.
Libai termed a “mockery of the Knesset rules” a tactical move by Tzahi Hanegbi in which the Likud Knesset member introduced a bill legalizing meetings between Israelis and PLO members, and then withdrew it before it could be voted on.
Hanegbi said he wanted to show up those within the government who opposed the measure but were seeking to pander to the far left in Labor and to the left- wing Meretz bloc.
The new legislation was promised by Labor and Meretz during an election campaign earlier this year which brought them to power as partners in a wider coalition government.
But some ardent supporters of the measure claim Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is dragging his feet in moving the measure through the legislative process.
Meretz Knesset member Dedi Zucker said his party would submit its own bill if the government fails to act on the measure by mid-January.