JERUSALEM (Oct. 25)
The Cabinet met today and later relayed to Foreign Minister Abba Eban the official government position he is to follow as leader of the Israeli delegation in the General Assembly’s Middle East debate which opens this week, probably tomorrow. That position, it was learned, is a re-affirmation of Israel’s refusal to return to the Jarring peace talks as long as the pre-Aug. 7 military situation in the Suez Canal zone, altered by Egyptian truce violations, is not fully restored. But the government agreed to an indefinite extension of the current Mideast cease-fire beyond its Nov. 5 deadline. A report on today’s Cabinet session was telephoned to Premier Golda Meir in Washington by Acting Premier Yigal Allon. Mr. Eban’s instructions reportedly were transmitted at the same time. Although Mrs. Meir will be in the United States for several weeks, the government decided that the debate in the General Assembly should be kept on the foreign ministerial level. Israel expects a bitter verbal battle at the world forum and is relying heavily on the United States to forestall Arab-Soviet attempts to push through a new anti-Israel resolution. The government described those attempts as “a move designed to torpedo the peace talks.”
Despite acknowledgment here that U.S. pressure can be expected to try to soften Israel’s stand on the truce violations, the statement issued after today’s Cabinet meeting showed no sign of yielding on demands for restoration of the Aug. 7 status quo ante. The statement re-affirmed Israel’s readiness to participate in the Jarring talks “in response to the United States initiative and on condition that all sections of the cease-fire agreement are mutually adhered to.” The announcement said further that “Israel rejects acquiescing in the violation of the cease-fire agreement; with the restoration of the previous situation in the standstill zone, it will again be possible to resume the Jarring talks provided that all sections of the agreement are mutually carried out.” The statement said further that “The government of Israel is ready to extend the cease-fire agreement for an indefinite period in order to enable the peace talks to go forward. The government regards the Egyptian-Soviet initiative to hold a debate on the Middle East in the United Nations General Assembly as a move designed to torpedo the peace talks.” The 25th annual United Nations Day was observed here today when the UN and Israeli flags–both blue and white–were raised ceremoniously over City Hall by Mayor Teddy Kollek in the presence of UN officials, members of the diplomatic corps and Israeli and Arab dignitaries.