JERUSALEM (May. 18)
Most informed observers here were reported today to consider it a virtual certainty that Premier Golda Meir will visit Washington next month to confer with President Richard M. Nixon. Her mission, if the visit takes place, will be in line with a recommendation reportedly made to the Cabinet today by Gen. Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, that Israel’s position on the Big Four talks at the United Nations and the United States-Soviet bilateral talks in Washington on the Middle East should be explained personally to the President by a high-ranking Israeli.
In a radio interview yesterday, Gen. Rabin, who is here for consultations, said that the Soviet position seemed to have moved closer to the American one. He added, however, that at present that movement could not be assessed as to extent and content and that there was still a large gulf to be bridged between the positions of the two major powers. He also said that even if the U.S. were seeking a solution unacceptable to Israel, the U.S. must still be considered a friendly country.
The Jerusalem Post’s diplomatic correspondent reported that Gen. Rabin was likely to advise the Cabinet to announce formally a principle of its peace aims that would go beyond the present formula that the final secure and recognized boundaries would differ from the present cease-fire lines. Gen. Rabin reportedly feels that Israel should state specifically that it would be prepared to withdraw its forces from the occupied areas–a position it has not taken so far. Such an Israeli admission would be designed to forestall the United States and the Soviet Union from becoming involved in such details as map-drawing, the correspondent wrote.
Mrs. Meir, in a statement made on her own initiative at the start of the Cabinet session today, dissociated herself completely from allegations in a book charging that Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Intelligence Major Gen. Aharon Yariv gave the Cabinet exaggerated information about Egyptian troop movements just before the 1967 war broke out. The book, “Six Years and Six Days,” was written by A. L. Gilboa, a member of the executive of the Histadrut, Israel’s Labor Federation. The implication of the charge was that the information had been given to force the hands of the “doves” in the Cabinet. Gen. Dayan has formally asked the Government’s legal adviser to investigate the possibility of charging Mr. Gilboa with libel.
Gen. Dayan withdrew at the Cabinet meeting his proposal that Israeli law should be applied to all occupied areas. In place of that suggestion, a committee was named to study what changes in ordnances by military governors of the various areas might be needed to resolve the problems which led Gen. Dayan to make his proposal. Gen. Dayan had contended that the varying laws applying to the territories made administration difficult and were often confusing both to the Israelis and the local population. He had suggested abolition of the Jordanian dinar as legal tender on the West Bank. The Cabinet committee will be headed by Justice Minister Yaacov Shapiro and will include the Army’s judge advocate general.
Mrs. Meir told Time magazine this week that a negotiated peace settlement with the Arabs would lead to a collapse in the present coalition Government because of “differences of opinion” among Israelis. If a settlement were worked out and the details were brought to the Cabinet, she said, the Cabinet would have to discuss it and take a position. “The Cabinet will break up. We will go to the Knesset and have new elections.” She said that if a settlement were reached, parts of the Golan Heights in occupied Syria and sections of the West Bank would not be returned to the Arabs.