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Claim U.S. Pressuring Israel for Concessions As Condition of Jet Sale

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Diplomatic sources here indicated today that the United States was putting pressure on Israel for certain concessions in the interest of peace with the Arabs as a condition of the sale of more American warplanes to Israel. According to these sources, this development was the subject of a top secret cabinet meeting said to have been held here yesterday. It was also allegedly responsible for the reported postponement or cancellation of a major foreign policy speech that Foreign Minister Abba Eban was said to have prepared for delivery to the Knesset today. (The Israeli Embassy in Washington told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that it has no knowledge of a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem yesterday. An Embassy spokesman said that as far as he knew Mr. Eban was scheduled to deliver a budget speech and he had no knowledge that the speech was postponed. Washington Post correspondent Stephen Klaidmanx reported from Jerusalem today that Mr. Eban planned to stress in his speech that Israel was willing to hold indirect talks with the Arabs, possibly through United Nations special envoy Gunner V. Janing, before ultimate direct talks are held. The Post reporter said the Eban speech was billed as an effort to stress Israel’s flexibility in outlining Israel’s positions on a cease-fire, withdrawal from occupied territories and possible formats for negotiations.)

Diplomatic sources here said the U.S. was trying to get Israel to agree to a cease-fire with Egypt along the Suez Canal and to withdrawal from the occupied territories as part of a peace settlement. Secretary of State William P. Rogers is expected to announce this week the Nixon administration’s decision on the sale of more jets to Israel. The decision, it is believed, will encompass what has been described as America’s new diplomatic initiative toward a peaceful settlement in the Mideast. (According to the Washington Post, Mr. Rogers began to lay the ground work for his new plan at a week-end meeting with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin which was attended by Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Joseph J. Sisco. That meeting was announced but, according to the Post, a Friday meeting with Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin was not. Mr. Rogers and Mr. Sisco were supposed to have met with the Israeli envoy. The Israel Embassy in Washington has declined to confirm that such a meeting took place.)

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