JERUSALEM (Nov. 30)
Israeli official circles made no secret today of their disappointment over the scheduled resumption of the Four Power talks on the Middle East in New York next Tuesday. The announcements that the consultations will begin anew after a five month hiatus was made by the United States Mission to the United Nations last week. Israel, which is opposed in principle to Big Power intervention in the Mideast conflict believes that events of the 10 months since the Four Power talks began have more than justified their stand.
Israeli officials note that the talks between the U.S., Soviet Russia, Britain and France are being resumed at a most inauspicious time from Israel’s point of view. They follow a bellicose speech by President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt to the National Assembly in which he declared that war was the only solution to the Mideast conflict. And they come on the even of the Arab summit conference at Rabat, Morocco at which the Arab states are almost certain to map new war plans against Israel.
But the most serious concern of the Israelis is that the renewed Big Power talks will be weighted heavily against Israel’s interests and could force the U.S. into agreeing to concessions detrimental to Israel’s security. The talks were recessed last July 1 in order to give the U.S. and the Soviet Union an opportunity to reach some kind of basic agreement in principle on the nature of a Mideast settlement. Bilateral talks between the American Assistant Secretary of State for near Eastern Affairs. Joseph J. Sisco, and the Soviet Ambassador to Washington, Anatoly F. Dobrynin, had been going on for some time, paralleling the discussions by the UN Ambassadors of the four big powers. They continued during the spring and were resumed earlier this fall. At last reports they were hopelessly deadlocked
Israel believes that by failing to respond to the latest American proposals, which included important concessions to the Arabs, the Soviet Government maneuvered the U.S. into agreeing to a resumption of the Four Power talks. According to the Israelis, the U.S. will be under pressure to retreat from its support of peace terms deemed vital by Israel. They say that the Britain and France are biased in favor of the Arabs and would support the Soviet position which is obviously linked to Cairo’s wishes.
The Israelis are particularly upset by the reported possibility that the British will try to introduce Issues between Israel and Jordan into the discussions. The Four Power talks and the consultations so far between the U.S. and the USSR have concentrated on a settlement between Israel and Egypt. The Israelis regard Egypt as the key to any Arab agreement and are convinced that neither Jordan nor any other Arab country would agree to terms without Cairo’s prior approval. The British are also expected to introduce the Arab refugee issue. Lord Cardoon, the British UN Ambassador who represents his country In the Four Power talks, said at the UN last week that the refugees are victims of an intolerable justice and that their problem cannot wait. The first of the resumed meetings of the Big Four will be held at the Waldorf Astoria residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Charles W. Yost. The other participants, in addition to Lord Cardoon. are Yaacov A. Malik of the Soviet Union and Armand Berard of France.
Israel has maintained all along that the Arabs will never agree to negotiations with Israel as long as they believe that outside powers will solve mideast problems for them on terms. Israel insists that the only chance for a Mideast settlement lies in direct talks between the Arab states and itself. Israelis believe that without Big Power intervention, the Arabs would be forced to negotiate or face an ‘indefinite continuation of the present situation with Israel occupying large areas of Arab territory.