“Spot Analysis: Palestinian Autonmy and the Late Moshe Dayan”

October 17, 1981

TEL AVIV  (UPI) — Moshe Dayan brought audacious originality to Israeli political thought and action even after his influence waned with his resignation as foreign minister two years ago.

Some also believed that had he lived, Dayan’s unique ability to invent solutions when none was in sight might have resolved future deadlocks in the Palestinian autonomy negotiations, his preoccupation in the last years of his life.

“Even out of office Dayan had his way of influencing political thinking and action,” a prominent academic said. “People had to listen to him. Dayan dead means that element is gone.”

Yet Dayan’s ideas will probably haunt the peace negotiations for some time.

As actors on the Middle East stage, there is no doubt the late Anwar Sadat played the leading role, closely followed by Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

Dayan’s supporting role was widely recognized as critical to the process. “Without Dayan, I don’t think we could have had the Camp David Accords,” said former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance.

Dayan quit Begin’s last cabinet in October 1979 over the government’s perception of autonomy for 1.2 million Palestinian Arabs of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“Begin and his party,” Dayan wrote in his newly published book Breakthrough, “wanted these territories to be under Israeli sovereignty though I doubt whether they had crystallized their views on what would be the status of the Arab inhabitants . . .

“I, on the other hand, did not believe that Israeli sovereignty could be imposed on these Arabs against their will. . .

“It was my view we had to establish a pattern of relationship between us and the Palestinians that would preserve our vital interests, but at the same time enable the Arabs to lead their lives as they wished,” he wrote.

Dayan’s solution was “unilateral autonomy” — imposing self-rule on the Palestinians of the territories by lowering the military government’s profile and handing over authority over day-to-day affairs to local Palestinian leaders.

He made unilateral autonomy and a future voice for Jordan in the question of East Jerusalem’s status planks in the platform of his new Telem Party. It won only two seats in the June elections for the 120-member Knesset.

The autonomy talks have resumed after a 15-month break imposed by Egypt. And Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, charged with authority over the territories, has begun taking steps to prepare the way for some form of self-rule.

These include such gestures as removing some roadblocks, easing military restraint on political dissent and announcing the “civilian-ization” of the military government.

Though he adamantly denies it — and only sketchy details of his plans are known — the measures Sharon has begun instituting bear more than a slight resemblance to what Dayan propounded.

NHD contestants: Please read this.

Upcoming events: Nov. 20: Brookhaven League of Women Voters. March 4: Westchester County League of Women VotersMarch 10: Keynote, Joint Journalism & Communications Historians Conference, New York City. April 15: Nassau County and Farmingdale-Bethpage historical societies at the Farmingdale Public Library.

The Suffragents in the news: The New York Times, The New York Daiy News,  Smithsonian VIP, Kirkus FeaturesKirkus Reviews,  The American ScholarTabletmag.com, Town & Country, the East Hampton Star, the Gotham Center for New York City History: articles 1, 2, and 3, the Schuster Institute for Investigative Reporting, Foreword ReviewsHudson River Valley Review NYU FeaturesWomen’s Media CenterSuffrage and the Media Futurity, Non-Fiction FansHeforShe.org’s The ScoopOpzij magazine (NL), Good Men Project.

Podcasts: Unorthodox  . . .  AmericasDemocrats . . . Top of Mind with Julie Rose .  . . NYU Center for the Humanities 

Event Video: NY Society Library, Facebook Live of the Tom Twomey Lecture in Local History, and of the Porter Square Books event in Cambridge.

Parting shots (my “summer camp newsletter” event posts): Book launch events with tons of photos of Sept. 1 Sept. 11  and Sept. 14   . . .  comment about the Sept. 28 joint appearance with Angela P. Dodson at the NY Society Library  . . . and about the NY Genealogical & Biographical Society Fall Luncheon Oct. 10  . . . and the  Oct. 14 panel at the AJHA Convention, Little Rock, Ark with Jane Marcellus, Tracy Lucht, and . . . and  a panel I hosted for the annual East Hampton Library’s Tom Twomey Lecture in Local History Oct. 19 with moderator Judith Hope and presenters Antonia Petrash and Arlene Hinkemeyer.  . . . Here’s  my post about Oct. 22 at the Woodlawn Cemetery & Conservancy . . . and  I posted about an Oct. 26 “talk back” at special performance at the NYU Black Box Theater  for Nancy Smithner’s “Hear Them Roar: The Fight for Women’s Rights”  . . .  Here’s a post about the weekend of Nov. 4-5 signing books in the Hudson Valley and in Albany for the 2020: Commitment to the Vision Conference and opening of the New York State Museum Suffrage Exhibition . . . On Nov. 6, the actual anniversary of the vote for suffrage in New York State, I spoke at the Brentwood Public Library. I also posted about the Nov. 7  NYU Center for the Humanities panel with Gail Collins and Christoph Irmscher, “When Modern Men Became Feminists”  . . .  and about the Nov. 10 panel for the Gotham Center for New York City at the CUNY Grad Center, with Susan Goodier, Dawn Scibilia, and Lauren Santangelo, hosted by Peter-Christian Aigner . . . Here’s one about my Nov. 16 appearance in the Book & Bottle series of the Suffolk County Historical Society & Museum . . .  and another one about our Nov. 17 panel at the Researching New York conference in Albany with Bruce Dearstyne and Robert Sink, moderated by Rob Snyder.