JERUSALEM (Jul. 28)
Premier Golda Meir continued today to press for governmental unity behind the United States peace plan amid reports that Defense Minister Moshe Dayan may resign if the plan is accepted. Dayan was reported as “not enthusiastic” about the American initiative because it does not guarantee Israeli possession of the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and a territorial link to the Strait of Tiran at the tip of the Sinai desert. Although the U.S. proposal does not mention specific areas, it was not addressed to Syria, which has not endorsed the Security Council resolution of Nov. 22, 1967, and it is believed the U.S. is not insisting on Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights. Government leaders here have indicated a willingness to negotiate all occupied areas except the Heights and Jerusalem. Gen. Dayan also wants to maintain Israeli forces on the Jordan River to prevent crossings by Arab troops, while at the same time granting autonomy to the Arabs on the occupied West Bank. A Foreign Ministry spokesman described the reports of Gen. Dayan’s possible resignation as “rumors.” The only top Israeli official to take a public stand on the U.S. plan is Deputy Premier Yigal Allon, who endorsed it yesterday. Mr. Allon, speaking to an audience of high school newspaper editors, said the government should accept it and thus make possible the reactivation of the peace mission of Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring.
The extraordinary cabinet meeting scheduled for this morning was abruptly postponed until tomorrow. Premier Meir, whose scheduled address to the Knesset on Monday was postponed until today, put it off again until next Monday–to give her time to study American “clarifications” of Israeli doubts about a temporary cease-fire and to rally the dissident Gahal Ministers behind the initiative. It was learned today that the six Gahal Ministers in the 24-member cabinet remain basically opposed to the U.S. plan. The government could force a majority decision of 18-6. but would prefer to have the entire coalition in unanimity. There is said to be no friction among the Gahal Ministers, three of whom–Ezer Weizman. Transport and Communications; Elimelech S. Rimalt, Posts; and Aryeh L. Dultzin. Minister-Without-Portfolio–have softened their position. The other three Gahal members–Menachem Beigin, Minister-Without-Portfolio; Yosef Sapir. Commerce and Industry; and Haim Landau. Development–are hesitant over acceptance. The six cancelled yesterday’s intra-factional meeting pending the conclusion of the cabinet meeting. A qualified positive Israeli response to the initiative is expected. That feeling was given additional weight last night when Shmuel Tamir. head of the Free Center Party, a minor opposition faction, predicted that “we shall be the only group to vote against acceptance.” Mr. Tamir wants an American-Israeli military pact and Israeli membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization prior to her agreement on a cease-fire.