Dayan, Aloni in S.F. urge pressure on Israel

Repeatedly railing against Israel's prime minister, left-wing Knesset member Yael Dayan last week urged foreign governments to prod her country into living up to the Oslo Accords.

"I will certainly invite pressure to stop any obstacle to peace," Dayan said at an Oct. 2 press conference in San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel, at the State of the World Forum.

Joined by former Knesset and cabinet member Shulamit Aloni, Dayan also called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to announce a timeline on the delayed withdrawal from Hebron.

"Hebron has become a symbol. He must give a date," said Dayan, who is perhaps best-known as the first Jewish Knesset member to have met with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The pair of leftists, who have long backed a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, spoke shortly after the Washington summit between Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat had ended with only agreements to negotiate further.

Aloni and Dayan blasted Netanyahu for opening a second entrance to an ancient tunnel in Jerusalem's Old City, calling the move a clear provocation of the Palestinians.

But Dayan hoped Netanyahu had been taught a lesson by the recent violence. Israelis voted him into office because they wanted peace with security, she said.

"He's learning there will not be security without peace," the Labor Party member said. "He's going home with a clear message: The U.S. won't go along with Israel right or wrong."

Other major Middle Eastern political figures had planned to attend the forum of global leaders. But former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, former Israeli first lady Leah Rabin and Palestinian Authority minister Hanan Ashrawi canceled when Palestinian-Israeli violence erupted late last month.

After Dayan called for foreign pressure on Israel, a reporter for the Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz asked why she was breaking the long-held taboo against calling for external intervention.

"I have no guilt about it," she said.

Dayan noted that her own father, Moshe Dayan, and other Israeli leaders reached out to President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s. Without Carter's intervention, she said, the Camp David Accords would never have been signed.

Likewise, she added, Israel has no problem accepting U.S. economic and military aid — something she considers a form of intervention.

In the press conference, neither Dayan nor Aloni criticized Arafat. In a short interview afterward, Aloni refused to condemn Arafat for any of his actions or inactions during the recent violence.

"Don't put Netanyahu and Arafat as equals," Aloni said. "One's the oppressor and the other is under occupation …What could he do?"

Dayan denounced all violence, including that of the Palestinian police. Arafat's handling of his police force was a "terrible mistake," she said.

Disregarding the city's anti-smoking ordinances, both women lit up during the interview in an empty banquet room while they called on the left-wing to mobilize.

Several pro-peace rallies have been held in Israel recently. But Dayan said rallies weren't enough.

Every Monday, opposition members in the Knesset will begin presenting no-confidence votes against Netanyahu. Other tactics might include voting down all budgets to punish Netanyahu, she said.

"We have to make his life miserable," said Aloni, who was a founder of the far-left Meretz party.

Neither woman, however, supports a national unity government of the Labor and Likud parties. They said such a government wouldn't work because the two parties' agendas differ too much now.

Dayan added that American Jews who support the Oslo Accords should speak out to the media, organize demonstrations and join Peace Now.

"God forbid, the American Jewish community will associate itself with the breakup of peace," she said.

Despite the violence and nearly 80 deaths during the riots, Dayan said she hadn't given up on the Oslo Accords or Middle Eastern peace.

"The question is whether this particular prime minister wants this particular peace."