“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.

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Upcoming events 2018: March 20: UN Bookshop  March 25: NEW DATE: League of Women Voters of Westchester Champagne Fundraiser April 22: Nassau County Historical Society  at the Jericho Public LibraryApril 29: St. George’s School. May 12: East Hampton Library’s Tom Twomey Series (interviewing NYTimes media columnist, Jim RutenbergMay 20: Women’s Suffrage and NYC: A Centennial Celebration Symposium: Bronx Historical Society and Woodlawn Cemetery  June 14: Roosevelt Island Historical Society. July 7 East Hampton Library’s Tom Twomey Series (hosting with Sara Davison the garden author and expert Charlotte M. Frieze) : August 4: Shelter Island Historical Society.

The Suffragents in the news: Reviews of the book .  . . Notices and articles about the Suffragents . . . Brooke’s articles in various publications . . .The Suffragents on Facebook . . .  and Brooke’s “Summer Camp Newsletters,”  the photo-laden logs I post right after events.