JERUSALEM (Nov. 16)
Deputy Premier Yigal Allon and King Hussein of Jordan met secretly for discussions that could lay the ground work for peace talks between Israel and Jordan, it was disclosed here today. The meeting took place during the second half of October on Israeli soil in a military compound south of the Dead Sea. Reports of the meeting were known to newsmen here for almost a week but were suppressed by the censor. Disclosure was permitted only after Time magazine, published today, reported that Allon and Hussein have held a series of secret border meetings to explore the possibilities of unilateral peace talks and that King Hussein has met at least once with Premier Golda Meir. The Time story was believed to have been smuggled out of Israel to avoid the censor. Protests by newsmen here led to permission to break the story within the limits of the report carried by Time, but there was no official confirmation. Last month’s Hussein-Allen meeting reportedly was limited to commitments by both sides that could improve relations between Israel and Jordan. King Hussein was said to have promised Mr. Allon that he would cede no Jordanian enclaves to Palestinian guerrillas and that in the course of time he would suppress all terrorist activities against Israel from Jordanian soil.
The King reportedly complained that talk by Israeli leaders of a Palestinian State with Amman as its capital was a virtual invitation to the Palestinians to try to take over his kingdom. Mr. Allon’s reply is not known. It was noted here however that Israeli cabinet ministers recently have refrained from talking about a Palestinian entity and that certain of them who have advocated increased autonomy for the West Bank seem to have abandoned that idea on grounds that there was no evidence of support from the West Bank Arabs. It was reported here last week that Israeli leaders consider a separate peace with Jordan within the realm of possibility since the death of President Garnal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and King Hussein’s victory over the guerrillas in the Jordanian civil war last September. According to Time magazine, Hussein has not yet agreed to unilateral talks with Israel but one result of the most recent border meetings “is that broader negotiations with representatives of other Arab states can be expected to follow.” So far, Time said, Hussein and Allon agreed to cooperate in neutralizing the Palestinian commandos and expanding economic relations between Jordan and Israel. Meanwhile, new fighting was reported today between Palestinian guerrillas and the Jordanian army in Irbid and Jerash.