JERUSALEM (Jan. 14)
Foreign Minister Abba Eban has met in the past two days with the ambassadors of Britain, France, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland to try to forestall Egyptian attempts to convene the United Nations Security Council before Feb. 5 to effect a reinterpretation of its Resolution 242 so as to stress Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, Britain and France are permanent members of the Council, and Italy and Belgium became nonpermanent members on Jan. 1 Israel is also maintaining constant contact with the United States on the matter, and in addition is seeking the support of West Germany–even though it is not a UN member–because of its influence with the Arab states. Eban, it is understood, made it clear to the British, French and Belgian envoys that while Israel does not reject the French-endorsed Egyptian proposal for a Big Four guarantee in the Middle East, she wants it to be an addition to a peace agreement and not a substitute for one.
The Egyptian proposal has come to Israel’s attention only via press reports. The UN middleman Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring of Sweden, has not yet conveyed it here; nor has he conveyed Egypt’s reported rejection of the “substantive” Israeli proposals made to Dr. Jarring here last weekend. The Foreign, Ministry is withholding comment on the Egyptian plan until Dr. Jarring formally presents it. (At the UN today, diplomatic sources said Israel consider her own proposals to Dr. Jarring last weekend to be “noncontroversial” ideas that Egypt and Jordan ” Should have no difficulty in accepting.” At the UN yesterday Egyptian Ambassador Mohamed H. el-Zayyat emphasized that his government’s plan had been formulated before last weekend and thus was not designed as a reaction to it. If so, observers noted, this failed to explain why this plan was only issued yesterday, albeit unofficially, in Al Gomhouria, organ of Egypt’s only political party, the Arab Socialist Union. While none of the plan’s elements is new –each has been projected during the past few weeks by Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat–its appearance in Al Gomhouria gives the plan a status of an official government package proposal and an official guideline for Dr. Jarring to consider in his talks with Israel, observers noted.)
U.S. VIEWS ISRAELI PLAN AS CONSTRUCTIVE; EBAN SAYS NO MAP HAS BEEN GIVEN TO JARRING
Reliable sources reported today that the United States has informed Israel that it continues to view the Israeli proposals as constructive and that a special Security Council session now would be harmful to the cause of peace. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today that in his talks with the foreign envoys, Eban reiterated that the Egyptian desire for a special Security Council meeting was an attempt to torpedo the Jarring talks. He also pointed out the danger of raising the specter of renewed warfare after the cease-fire extension ends Feb. 5. But one Israeli official noted today that Israel feels Egypt and Jordan are actually tempering their fears of Israeli “aggression” and expansionism.” (In Cairo today, visiting Soviet President Nikolai V. Podgorny charged that Israeli “expansionism” intensified world tension and was a threat to peace. Podgorny, who will attend the inauguration of the Soviet-financed Aswan High Dam, said he would also discuss consolidation of the friendship and cooperation between the USSR and Egypt as well as vital questions affecting the Middle East.)
In a speech last night to a student audience at Bar-Ilan University near Ramat Gan, Eban asserted that no secret map, “nor any other kind of map, for that matter,” had been given to Dr. Jarring in Jerusalem, but that he had been given “extremely serious proposals” and “we expect serious answers from Egypt.” Eban was pessimistic about Soviet President Podgorny’s visit to Egypt, observing: “Two months after the Six-Day War there were Arab leaders who wanted peace, but Moscow convinced them that she would send the Arabs new arms ‘and then you can negotiate with Israel from a position of strength.’ On the basis of past experience we would be dreaming if we expect Podgorny in his present visit to counsel Arabs to react favorably to our peace offers.” The Israeli diplomat noted that while there remained policy differences between Jerusalem and Washington, D.C., they were not increasing, and in fact the positive aspects of their relations have been heightened.