TEL AVIV — A group of Israeli leftists returned from a controversial meeting in Romania with Palestine Liberation Organization representatives today to face police summonses and public abuse.
Amid rowdy scenes at Ben Gurion Airport, four leaders of the 29-member Israeli group were handed orders to report to the police for questioning on Sunday under a new law that forbids unauthorized meetings with "terrorist organizations."
"We, the Israeli delegation to Bucharest, went to make a dialogue for peace," said group leader Latif Dori of the Mapam Party, showing his summons to reporters.
He said the group did not intend to break the law, which calls for prison terms of up to three years, although they deplored it. But "today the PLO are our enemies," he said.
The Israeli group, scaled down from 100 by factional disputes, held a two-hour meeting with 15 Palestinians in the Romanian town of Costinesti on Thursday but the encounter ended prematurely--apparently, according to Israeli delegation sources, because of threats against some Palestinians from their own extremists.
The Israeli leftists' return was disrupted by anti-PLO demonstrators demanding that the delegates be jailed on the spot.
Lawyer Azriel Barak, whose son and daughter-in-law were killed by a Palestinian in 1979, led the protesters, shouting, "Traitors, you helped the enemy!" Police led him away.
The PLO concluded the talks with a statement reiterating its determination to fight with all means possible, not excluding violence, to achieve its aims.
Israeli participants said the encounter yielded little but was at least a symbol of the willingness of Israelis and Palestinians to sit together and discuss their conflict.
As police escorted the leftists out of the airport an Orthodox Jew holding a photograph of a guerrilla attack waved a noose at them. However, some other bystanders applauded the peace campaigners.