Israel Expected to Return to Peace Talks Next Month; Wants U.S. to Pledge Aid

Israel is expected to return to the Jarring talks some time in mid-December but in the meantime it is trying to persuade the United States to put its pledges of military and economic aid into writing in what would amount to a U.S.-Israel defense treaty, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today from reliable sources. The U.S. is reportedly hesitant about making a written commitment. Washington believes that the large scale military and economic aid already given or promised to Israel, combined with American assurances to act against further Soviet involvement in the Mideast conflict, has created the proper condition for reactivating the Jarring talks. Some government circles here seem to agree with the U.S. They not that even written agreements can be broken if the circumstances warrant it and cite the case of France which still embargoes 50 Mirage jets which Israel paid for in full two years ago. These circles argue that any American pledge, written or verbal, depends upon the administration’s good will and therefore one is as good as the other. The matter has been the subject of debate in the Cabinet which will continue when Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin returns here to report on the latest developments in Washington.

Israel’s return to the Jarring talks next month seems fairly certain for the government wants to avoid being branded a “hold out.” It runs that risk if the talks are not resumed before Jan. 5 when United Nations Secretary General U Thant is obliged to report to the Security Council on the progress of Mideast peace negotiations. Another subject of debate in the government is Defense Minister Dayan’s proposal to re-negotiate the cease-fire agreement with Egypt on the basis of a mutual reduction of forces along the Suez Canal. The U.S. is reportedly trying to discourage such a plan. The State Department feels it would only complicate the situation and has told Israel that Egypt would eventually violate a new agreement as it did the old one, thereby putting the Jarring talks in jeopardy once again. The U.S. is known to be cool toward any plan that might result in the re-opening of the Suez Canal in the near future. Once the waterway is usable again, the powerful Soviet navy would have easy access to the Indian Ocean and the Far East.

NEXT STORY