JERUSALEM (Sep. 7)
Israel’s withdrawal from the Jarring peace talks yesterday represented an important shift in priorities from negotiations to rectification of Egyptian cease-fire violations, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today. According to a highly knowledgeable source the government not only has no intention of resuming talks at the United Nations in New York under present conditions but will insist on the removal of all Egyptian missiles from the standstill cease-fire zone even if the talks are called off entirely. If the United States government fails to induce the Egyptians and Russians to pull back the missiles, Israel is prepared to act by other means, the source said. The JTA learned today that the government was considering a major military action to destroy Egyptian advance missile bases in the Suez Canal zone shortly before the cease-fire went into effect. But the U.S. learned of the plan and brought strong pressure to bear on Israel to abandon it, an informed source said. Israel then accepted the cease-fire on specific assurances from President Nixon that he would not tolerate any change in the military status quo in the area. Mr. Nixon was also reported to have advised Israel that the U.S. would allow it to take action if the military freeze was violated. Withdrawal from the truce talks does not mean that Israel has abrogated the 90-day cease-fire that went into effect Aug. 7 or that it has rescinded its acceptance of the American peace initiative. This was made clear in yesterday’s announcement of the Cabinet’s decision. But government spokesman Michael Arnon said “As long as the standstill cease-fire is not restored, Israel cannot participate in the talks.” He added that Israel’s acceptance of the American peace initiative and the appointment of a representative to the Jarring talks continue to be valid.” Premier Golda Meir said much the same thing in a television interview last night. She said her government’s initial endorsement of the peace moves remains unchanged but Israel is not ready to continue the Jarring talks as long as the other side persists in violating the cease-fire. Asked what Israel expected the United States to do, Mrs. Meir replied, “The U.S. says they have been in touch with the Russians and Egyptians to rectify the situation. We want them to continue to apply pressure because we cannot be asked to carry on while the other side acts so that if the shooting starts again we will be in a much worse situation than before the cease-fire.” Asked about possible American pressure on Israel, Mrs. Meir said, “There’s been pressure on Israel since the State was established. That is how policy is made. One side exerts pressure while the other side must have the strength to stand up against such pressure.”
Mr. Arnon said in reply to a question yesterday that the government has not changed the appointment of its UN Ambassador, Yosef Tekoah, as Foreign Minister Eban’s alternate in the Jarring talks. Mr. Tekoah, so far, had only one meeting with Ambassador Jarring. He has been in Israel for the past ten days but was flying back to New York today to report his government’s action officially to Dr. Jarring. The latter has met several times with Arab representatives. Prior to his departure from Lydda Airport this morning. Ambassador Tekoah said the Egyptians could pull their missiles out of the cease-fire zone as quickly as they installed them there. He said he was returning to New York to attend the UN General Assembly sessions which begin next week. The JTA learned today that despite current differences between Israel and Washington, there has been no slow-down in American arms deliveries. According to a reliable source, press reports to that effect are “completely wrong.” The source added that while Israel has no complaint, that does not mean it is getting all the weapons it wants. Former Minister Menachem Beigin told a mass meeting in Haifa last night that the government was right to discontinue the Jarring talks and not to resume them until the Egyptians pull their missiles out of the cease-fire zone.