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Dayan: Israel Should Talk to Plo; Knesset Due to Examine Recent Meeting of Israelis, PLO in Paris

November 8, 1976
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Former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan stated in a television interview Thursday that the Israeli government should talk to Yasir Arafat, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization and help the Palestinians achieve a national homeland within Jordan Dayan, now a member of the Knesset, said, “It is necessary to speak with the enemy even if we have no compromise proposal. Otherwise, it will be impossible to reach a settlement.”

Israel officially refuses to meet with the PLO because it is a terrorist organization. But some doves within the Labor Alignment have said that Israel should be prepared to meet with PLO leaders if that organization announces its official recognition of the Jewish State.

Meanwhile, the Knesset is expected this week to take up the question of the propriety of a recent meeting with PLO representatives in Paris by several prominent Israelis, including a former MK and a former official of sub-Cabinet rank. The question was raised by Amnon Linn of Likud. The government’s reply will be given by Justice Minister Chaim Zadok.

The Paris meeting, in mid-October, was unofficial and was held in a private home. Its out come was inconclusive as neither the Israelis nor the PLO men could agree on a basis for future negotiations. The PLO participants were not identified, at their own request. The Israelis included Meir Payil of Moked; Gen. (Res.) Matetyahu Peled, a lecturer on Oriental studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; Dr. Yaacov Arnon, former director general of the Finance Ministry; and Uri Avneri, publisher of the weekly magazine Haolam Haze and a former independent member of the Knesset.


The meeting was discussed at a Cabinet session recently where it was stated that Arnon should not have been permitted to meet with PLO representatives because of his former high government post and his present position as chairman of the board of directors of the Israel Electric Corp. Zadok took the position that Arnon is a private citizen no longer bound by the laws that apply to civil servants,

Premier Yitzhak Rabin said that one of the participants had reported to him personally. But he stressed that the government opposes such meetings, that neither he nor the government had been informed beforehand and no one had asked the government’s permission.

The Cabinet is reportedly considering whether to adopt a formal resolution with respect to meetings by Israelis with the PLO. Several ministers believe that the failure to reach a decision would create an incorrect and unwarranted impression among the public that such contacts are sanctioned by the government. The Cabinet decided to leave the matter in abeyance until Rabin discusses it with the leaders of the various factions.

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