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Shamir Seeks Probe of Israelis Who Gave Interviews to Jordan Television

February 12, 1987
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Premier Yitzhak Shamir said Wednesday that he would order an investigation into interviews given this week by four Israelis to Jordan Television. Two are Knesset members, Abba Eban and Yossi Sarid.

Shamir told a meeting of Cabinet Ministers that the investigation would find out whether Jordan Television has a representative in Israel and if Israelis who appear on Jordan Television are contravening the law.

Eban, a former Labor Foreign Minister and currently chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, has been accused by rightwing and nationalist activists of “consorting with the enemy.” He was interviewed Monday for the Hebrew-language news service of Amman Television by an Arab journalist from Haifa. The interview will be broadcast next week.

It was conducted at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem because the journalist was not allowed in the Knesset building. Eban told Israel Radio Wednesday that he thought it was important for Jordanian viewers to learn of Israel’s official viewpoint on current issues as well as those of the opposition. Sarid, of the Citizens Rights Movement (CRM), is an opposition MK.


Eban flatly rejected Gush Emunim lawyer Elyakim Haetzni’s accusation that he violated the ban on contacts with the enemy. Haetzni and others have demanded the arrest of Ziad Darwish, a free lance Arab journalist from Acre who has been conducting the interviews with prominent Israelis.

Darwish employs the camera crews of an international news service for his reports from Israel. They are sent to Jordan via Cyprus after passing through Israeli military censorship.

Amman Television’s Hebrew service program is widely viewed in Israel. Eban offered to be interviewed in Arabic, which he speaks fluently, to get his message across to the Jordanians. But the interviewer preferred Hebrew.

Eban responded to questions about an international conference for Middle East peace. He said Israel did not perceive such a conference as an end in itself but was prepared to go along if that was the only framework for peace negotiations acceptable to the Arabs.

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