JERUSALEM (Nov. 5)
The cabinet, at next Sunday’s regular weekly meeting in Tel Aviv, will discuss the implications of the Afro-Asian resolution on the Middle East passed by the United Nations General Assembly yesterday. The feeling in political circles here is that the resolution, even with its anti-Israelism toned down, still gives Egypt the result it had sought. Concurrently, it is felt that the United States, which waged a desperate fight against the resolution and was the only Big Four power to vote against It, has suffered a diplomatic setback. The measure was approved by a 57-16 vote, with 39 abstentions. Thus, although the Soviet-Arab bloc had counted on 100 votes for a stronger draft, there were still more nations favoring it than either opposing it or abstaining. (At the UN yesterday, an obviously relieved Foreign Minister Abba Eban said that while the resolution “adds new obstacles.” it was only a recommendation, could be ignored by peace mediator Gunnar V. Jarring and would probably be forgotten in two weeks.)
Meanwhile, Israeli circles regarded Egypt’s prompt acceptance of a three-month cease-fire extension as an indication the Sadat regime really needs it to allow it to concentrate on its pressing economic and personal internal problems and its inter-Arab relations. Egypt has not put her own house sufficiently in order to undergo another shooting war with Israel, and Israel has insisted she will not herself be the first to fire again. It is understood that even in his never-say-die talks to his soldiers, President Anwar Sadat preaches patience. A continuation of the fighting halt is thus just the breather the United Arab Republic needs. The general belief among journalists and cameramen on the Israeli side of the truce line is that it will be all quiet on the Suez front after 220 GMT tonight (6 p.m. New York Time)–although they express the fear that an “insane soldier” may precipitate a renewal of shooting. Israeli observers have noted that the absence of aggression from the west side of the Canal during the 90-day cease-fire indicates that Egyptian military discipline is strong.
Israeli Army sources have disclosed that when a burst of fire was heard from the Egyptian zone, UAR soldiers hurriedly signaled that it was a mistake and disarmed their itchy-fingered comrades. Israeli authorities have thus given strict orders to their troops that “no one should be ‘insane’ for a minute.” Political circles here stressed the united Israeli-American front at the UN throughout the eight-day Mideast debate, as well as the decisions by France and Britain not to oppose the Afro-Asian draft (the former voted for it, the latter abstained on the ground that it favored some sections but opposed others). It is thought here that the Soviets and the Arabs will now renew their demand for prompt resumption of the Jarring talks, as called for in the Afro-Asian document. Israel’s position, reiterated as recently as yesterday by Mr. Eban in New York, is that the negotiations cannot be resumed without a rollback of Egyptian missiles to their pre-Aug. 8 positions. But, although the U.S. has staunchly confirmed Israel’s charges of United Arab Republic violations, political circles here expressed the opinion — voiced by some American columnists–that Washington may again pressure Israel to forego a roll-back, settling instead for a symbolic gesture by the UAR.