JERUSALEM (Dec. 29)
Premier Golda Meir said today that the very survival of Israel would be at stake if the recent American proposals on future boundaries and the repatriation of Arab refugees were ever implemented. She said the implementation of either proposal alone would place Israel’s security in grave jeopardy.
Mrs. Meir spoke before a packed Knesset today. The legislators expressed unanimity in rejecting the United States recommendation that Israel withdraw to the pre-June, 1967 boundaries and that Palestinian refugees be given the choice of returning to Israel or accepting compensation. Her speech was a reiteration of an earlier Cabinet statement that characterized the proposals made Dec. 10 by Secretary of State William P. Rogers as an infringement of Israel’s sovereignty that restricted Israel’s bargaining position in negotiations with the Arabs.
Mrs. Meir warned that Israel must “gird its loins” for a prolonged struggle. She said the Four Power Mideast talks in themselves aggravate the situation in the area and that the arrangements proposed by Washington are even less binding on the Arabs than the 1949 armistice agreements. The Premier said Israel continued to believe in America’s deep friendship for it. Nevertheless, she said, America’s legitimate interests must not be pursued at Israel’s expense nor should the present differences between the two countries be minimized.
(Wire services reported that Mrs. Meir had charged that the United States had stopped consulting with Israel a reference to the fact that the latest American proposals for agreement with Jordan and settlement of the refugee problem had not been communicated in advance to Israel although Secretary of State Rogers had seen Foreign Minister Abba Eban 30 hours before the proposals were sent out.
(Karl Bartch, State Department spokesman, replying to questions on this in Washington today, asserted that he “would expect consulting to continue, not only with Israel, but with others on a Middle East settlement,”
(Mr. Bartch declined further comment on the most recent Soviet communication with regard to the American proposals. He said, however, that no new American-Soviet meeting had been scheduled on the Middle East.)
(Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin met today with Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Joseph Sisco. It was their first meeting since Gen. Rabin’s return from Israel. Details of their discussion were not revealed.)
WARNS POLICY OF APPEASING ARABS HAS NEVER WORKED
Mrs. Meir said that a policy of appeasing the Arabs never yielded results. She said Britain tried it for many years and lost one position after another. She observed that following the 1956 Sinai campaign, the U.S. teamed up with Soviet Russia to force an Israeli withdrawal from the peninsula. But Egypt has reserved all of its thanks for the Russians and has never shown a sign of gratitude to the U.S., she noted,
Mrs. Meir rejected the contention that Israel was responsible for the turmoil in the Middle East. She said that President Gamal Abdel Nasser, of Egypt and King Faisal, of Saudi Arabia, were enemies even before they clashed at last week’s Arab summit conference in Rabat, Their point of contention is South Yemen, where Egyptian and Saudian forces have battled each other, she said.
Mrs. Meir said Americans must realize that the Soviet Union does not want peace in the Middle East but conditions favorable to the renewal of hostilities. She thanked the Jewish communities of the United States, Latin America, South Africa and other countries for rallying behind Israel in the latest crisis.