WASHINGTON (Dec. 30)
State Department officials were drafting today the outlines of a proposal to the incoming Nixon Administration to strengthen American relations with “pro-Western” Arab regimes, restore diplomatic ties with Egypt and exert control over Israeli reprisal policies by withholding delivery of the Phantom jets. Despite the announcement last Friday of formal agreement on the sale of the Phantom fighter-bombers, U.S. officials now visualize deferment of delivery as the only effective lever available to control Israeli behavior.
But not all State Department or U.S. military opinion is convinced that Israel is entirely to blame. The State Department includes officials who see no realistic chance of an American-Russian demarche to impose a Mideast settlement acceptable to Western interests. They visualize a more active unilateral American role by the Nixon Administration to restrain Israel, bolster the Amman and Beirut regimes in hopes of limiting the terrorist trend, and normalize relations with Egypt. These officials see the advent of the new Administration as a propitious time to deal sternly with Israel and to exert new initiatives in American-Arab relations.