JERUSALEM (Sep. 3)
In an apparent effort to mollify growing dissatisfaction among Israeli citizens and in the hope of preventing a split in the Cabinet, government circles indicated today that Israel would give the United States a little more time – possibly up to two weeks – to rectify truce violations before deciding to take action on its own. Israel’s United Nations Ambassador Yosef Tekoah is expected to return to New York next week. However, the Middle East peace talks, conducted by UN envoy Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring, are expected to mark time until the cease-fire crisis is settled. Officials here said that even with Mr. Tekoah’s return to New York there would still be no substantive discussions with Dr. Jarring until Foreign Minister Abba Eban arrives Sept. 15. According to an unofficial version, Mr. Tekoah may return to New York only in his capacity as Israeli ambassador to the UN but not as Mr. Eban’s alternate at the peace talks. On Sept. 15, when the UN General Assembly convenes for its 25th anniversary session, Arab foreign ministers are also scheduled to return to the UN. The issue of Egypt’s truce violations is expected to be settled one way or another by then.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet continues to be divided over Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s insistence that Israel take action quickly to nullify the military advantage Egypt gained since the cease-fire began Aug. 7. Gen. Dayan maintains that the U.S. has had sufficient time to study the evidence and act decisively to back up its assurances to Israel that no military advantages would accrue to either side during the 90-day cease-fire. According to sources here, government leaders have decided to wait at least one more week. This was proposed yesterday by Dr. Zerach Warhaftig. Minister of Religious Affairs whose National Religious Party itself is split over whether to leave the coalition should Gen. Dayan resign. The NRP’s younger element has been urging such a course. At a meeting in Tel Aviv last night they were addressed by Gen. Ezer Weizman, former Minister of Transport who resigned when his Gahal faction quit the Cabinet in protest against the government’s acceptance of the cease-fire. Gen. Weizman said that if Defense Minister Dayan resigned the government would fall and new elections would be held. He said the outcome might very well see Gen. Dayan. become Premier. Yesterday Israel lodged its ninth complaint of Egyptian truce violations with the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). It charged that the Egyptians have begun work on still more missile sites in the standstill cease-fire zone. The charge was based on Israeli intelligence dated Sept. 2.
(The cease-fire problem was reportedly alluded to at yesterday’s Big Four meeting in New York by U.S. Ambassador Charles Yost. He is said to have indicated America’s concern about general problems in the Mideast. Soviet Ambassador Aleksei Zakharov was said to have avoided a direct response. He reportedly indicated that Russia does not want the Four Powers burdened with issues arising from the cease-fire.) Beyond the cease-fire issue there is reportedly no agreement within the government on the position Israel will take at the Jarring peace talks. The crucial issue is withdrawal from occupied territories. Deputy Premier Yigal Allon indicated that there were certain territories Israel considers absolutely essential to its security and would not give up no matter what political solutions were arrived at. He said Israel will not give up the West Bank of the Jordan River or the central mountain chain stretching from Mt. Gilboa in the north to the Arad region south of the Dead Sea. Nor. he said, will Israel evacuate the Raffah salient in the Sinai, the Sharm el-Sheikh strong point, or the Golan Heights. Mr. Allon spoke to settlers at para-military settlements in the Jordan Valley. He said Israel would have to retain those territories as a solid security belt, even though they include such towns as Nablus and Hebron with heavy Arab populations.