JERUSALEM (Jul. 27)
Official caution here contrasted with rioting by youths and guerrilla bands in Amman today as the Israeli government deliberated its response to the American peace initiative and pro-Palestinian Jordanians protested the Hussein government’s acceptance of it. The Israeli cabinet held a lengthy and secret session yesterday and afterwards issued a noncommittal statement. As of yesterday it was believed that Israel is seeking three major guarantees from the United States before accepting its proposal: The guarantees are that the U.S. make clear how the Arab states can be prevented from using the proposed three-month-or-more cease-fire for an unchallenged military buildup; that the U.S. agree that renewed mediation by United Nations representative Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring be unconditional, that is, without a priori Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories; and that the U.S. commit itself unequivocally to the maintenance of Israeli independence and security.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today from a well-informed source that the cabinet is likely to decide tomorrow on a qualified acceptance of the U.S. plan, with additional conditions attached. One is that shooting not become “legal” again after the expiration of the temporary cease-fire–Israel maintaining that United Nations Security Council Resolution 233–the Six-Day War cease-fire–is still valid. Another, an outgrowth of the first main guarantee, is a guarantee of effective supervision of the temporary shooting halt so that neither side can take military advantage of it. A third condition is Israel’s insistence that the Jarring mission not be used as a pretext for attempts by the Security Council to reinterpret its Resolution 242 of Nov. 22, 1967, by revising its first provision to require Israeli withdrawal from “all” or “the” occupied territories instead of Just “occupied territories.”
The generally favorable attitude toward the U.S. plan by the Israeli Ministers is believed to have been directly inspired by President Nixon’s message to Premier Golda Meir last Friday, in which he is believed to have reassured Israel over her fears, delivered through Ambassador Walworth Barbour. An individual who spoke with Mrs. Meir just before and just after her meeting with Mr. Barbour said the contents of the Nixon message “could be practically read off Mrs. Meir’s face–before, she betrayed anxiety, afterwards, she radiated confidence.” The rightist, nationalistic Gahal Ministers. JTA learned, do not fully share the Premier’s optimism, but are not expected to oppose acceptance of the U.S. plan after receiving Washington’s clarifications of the cabinet’s challenges. Mrs. Meir. who postponed yesterday’s Knesset speech, is now expected to speak tomorrow. It was reported today that Washington and Moscow have agreed that the U.S. will not sell Israel any more jets if the Soviet Union will not send Egypt any more weaponry. It is believed that American pressure on Israel to accept the U.S. plan emphasizes the probability of adverse world reaction to a rejection, rather than dangling the threat of a jet cutoff.
ARAB NATIONS SPLIT ON U.S. PLAN; JORDAN’S ACCEPTANCE DESCRIBED POSITIVE BY MCCLOSKEY
In Amman, rioting broke out in the streets this morning as young Jordanians sympathetic to the Palestinian cause expressed their rage over the Jordanian cabinet’s acceptance yesterday of the U.S. plan. The cabinet–the majority of which over-ruled the pro-Palestinian minority and engineered what was announced as a unanimous acceptance–knew that such a decision would cause dissension and perhaps a cabinet crisis. But, although Palestinians account for more than half of Jordan’s population and gained leverage in their July 7 pact with the government, the cabinet was believed to feel that the Army has regained its military dominance over the guerrilla groups. With Egypt, Jordan and the Sudan having accepted the American initiative. Iraq and Syria having condemned it and the guerrillas having rejected it outright, the Arab League has suffered a serious split. And Israel is reportedly very much aware that the spotlight is now on her more intensely than it has been in many months. Although she has criticized aspects of the U.S. plan, notably the cease-fire, she will now find it very difficult, if not impossible, to reject it out of hand in the face of its acceptance by the two top Arab leaders. A favorable response is thus expected.
(In Washington, State Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey said the Jordanian acceptance had been received over the weekend and is “similar to the reply from the UAR.” He said he “would describe it as positive.” Asked to elaborate on Secretary of State William P. Rogers’ June 25 statement that a temporary cease-fire will permit the parties to “stop shooting and start talking,” Mr. McCloskey said that “there is more substance to it than that cursory remark.” He added that self-policing during the cease-fire was “not necessarily” envisioned. This led observers to speculate that there is truth to reports that a temporary cease-fire agreement would include prohibitions against any military preparations during that period. Mr. McCloskey would not elaborate on this, saying only that after peace talks begin, “then we will go into the anatomy.” He said it would be “imprudent” for him to comment on a not-yet-delivered Israeli response. Israel’s Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin met this afternoon for a “guidance” consultation with Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.
(Diplomatic sources in Washington said the Big Four ambassadors would “probably” take up the new developments following a positive Israeli reply. They said the administration expected that the formal Iraqi and Syrian responses would be “rational and reasonable,” although they noted that the Rogers initiative was not addressed to them.) The Syrian condemnation of the U.S. plan, broadcast over Damascus Radio late yesterday, contended that “The latest so-called American peace initiative is only a link in the chain of successive imperialist plans which are put forward with the aim of covering the real objectives of the aggressors and concealing the actual aims of imperialism.” The statement, made by militia commander Haditha Murad. called the plan “a betrayal of the Arab nation and the Palestinian people.” But it did not refer directly to Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who a month ago said his country and Syria were “in agreement” on the U.S. plan. (In Amman today. Yassir Arafat, the spokesman for El Fatah, said he had invited Cuban Premier Fidel Castro to visit Jordan so the guerrillas can “benefit from your experience in the revolutionary field.”)