Israel Cabinet Confident Nixon Will Not Adopt Peace Policies Harmful to Israel

The Cabinet session today was devoted to political and defense matters. While no details were released, the impression here was that the government was fully confident that President Richard M. Nixon would not be swayed by Soviet or French pressures into adopting policies inimical to Israel. The Cabinet meeting was attended by Gen. Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s envoy to Washington. When he arrived here two days ago to attend a special memorial rally for the late Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, he said he didn’t think the Nixon Administration’s attitude on the Mideast would differ much from that of the Johnson Administration. He said it would take time for the new Administration to crystallize its policy and this would give Israel an opportunity to make its own position more clear.

Foreign Minister Abba Eban was expected to do so when he goes to Washington next week. He was expected to re-emphasize to American officials Israel’s view that only negotiations aimed at a peace treaty between the parties directly concerned could bring about a lasting solution of the conflict. Mr. Eban was expected to say that barring a peace treaty, it would be better to maintain the territorial status quo. Government circles here seem to be convinced that when President Nixon expressed his willingness to talk to the Soviet Union and other powers on the Mideast, he meant talks and nothing more. It was believed here that the U.S. has made no prior commitment to accept any plans being promoted by the USSR and France. On the contrary, official sources here said, the Nixon Administration had not seen so far any proposal that they would advise Israel to accept. Particular satisfaction was expressed here over Mr. Nixon’s press conference remark Tuesday that the time was past when the major powers could impose their will on smaller ones. This was seen as indicating that the American point of view was opposed to the views of Soviet leaders who have not been averse to imposing regimes and solutions on their allies.

(Two American Jewish leaders said they were pleased with President Nixon’s press conference remarks that there would be no Big Power solution dictated in the Mideast. Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld, president of the American Jewish Congress, told the national biennial convention of the AJ Congress’ Women’s Division in Washington, “The President’s assurances were especially encouraging in the light of earlier fears that international diplomacy was preparing Israel for the sacrifice.” Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the American Zionist Council, said in New York, “We welcome the essentials of the President’s statement, indicating that he will consult with Israel prior to making a determination of policy…We are encouraged by…what appears to be his steadfast policy that the fate of the Mideast cannot be decided by the Big Powers but has to come through negotiations between the parties to the conflict.”)

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