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Cabinet Working on Peace Talks’ Formula; Report U.S. to Give Israel $1.4 Billion

The Cabinet is expected to come up shortly with a formula for Israel’s return to the Jarring peace talks, according to informed sources here. Yesterday’s session yielded no decision. The deliberations will be resumed after the arrival of Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin who has been recalled from Washington for consultations. Most Cabinet members, including Foreign Minister Abba Eban, are said to favor making the reactivation of the Jarring talks conditional on certain commitments by the United States. These reportedly include further improvement of the Mideast arms balance in Israel’s favor, substantial new economic aid and American political support. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned from highly reliable sources that Israel can expect $1.5 billion in economic aid from the U.S. between 1970-1972. According to the sources, the Nixon administration has agreed to grant Israel $200 million a year during each of the next two years in addition to an earlier commitment of $500 million per year in the same period. Israel has received $100 million from the U.S. this year. At the present time however, the only sum definitely ear-marked for Israel is a $500 million grant for military purchases contained in the Pentagon’s fiscal 1971 authorization bill which has been passed by both houses of Congress.

Political circles here believe Washington’s sudden generosity reflects a radical re-appraisal by the U.S. of Israel’s role in the Middle East. According to these circles the U.S. has concluded–and has intimated to Israel–that Israel’s existence prevents a Communist take-over in Lebanon and Jordan. American strategists are said to believe that despite the stability achieved recently by the Hussein regime, Jordan would soon fall prey to Communist-dominated groups if it weren’t for Israel. The same situation is said to apply to Lebanon which is militarily weaker than Jordan. Sharp differences of opinion between Foreign Minister Eban and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan surfaced at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. Foreign Ministry circles oppose Gen. Dayan’s proposal for a mutual military disengagement along the Suez Canal which they consider impractical because it would be contingent on acceptance by the Soviet Union and Egypt. While the Cabinet is not altogether opposed to another Dayan plan which would have Israel and Egypt re-negotiate their original cease-fire agreement of Last Aug. 7, most ministers feel that any new agreement that might be drafted with the Egyptians should not be tied up with the Jarring talks. The government is reported to be considering a request to the U.S. for guarantees against future Egyptian truce violations as one condition for returning to the Jarring talks.

Meanwhile, Gahal leader Menachem Beigin warned yesterday that his faction would hold the government to its pledge not to return to the Jarring talks until Egyptian truce violations are rectified. Mr. Beigin led his party’s defection from the coalition government last August in opposition to the Jarring peace talks and the cease-fire. He argued yesterday that the Jarring talks would not result in peace because no peace proposals by Israel would be acceptable to the Arabs. According to Beigin, the Arabs need not agree to any compromise with Israel because all of the Four Powers were on record in favor of Israel’s withdrawal to its pre-June, 1967 borders. Beigin insisted that Israel must retain the Sinai peninsula because it has been used three times as a staging area for attacks on Israel.

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