JERUSALEM (Jan. 24)
The Cabinet decided today that Israel will stick with the process of peace talks with the Arabs through United Nations mediator Gunnar V. Jarring despite the “polemical tone” of Egypt’s reply to Israel’s first proposals. Israel is still irritated by what it regards as an attempt by Cairo to undermine the Jarring talks through leaking Israeli diplomatic notes to the press. That matter was discussed with Dr. Jarring by Israel’s UN Ambassador, Yosef Tekoah last Friday. Tekoah pointed out that Israel specifically stipulated the need for “quiet diplomacy” as one of its conditions for returning to the Jarring talks last month. Jarring was said to have told Tekoah that he agreed entirely with Israel’s position and would insist that there should be no leaks in the future. Israel’s anger was aroused by publication in the Tunis-based French language weekly Jeune Afrique of what was purportedly the text of Israel’s latest proposals which were conveyed to Egypt by Jarring. The Egyptians followed that up by publishing the text of their reply and accused Israel of leaking its own diplomatic note.
At today’s Cabinet meeting, Premier Golda Meir and Foreign Minister Abba Eban reported on the latest developments in the Jarring talks. Egypt reply was not considered satisfactory. The Israelis said that Cairo avoided replying to the principal clauses in the Israeli note. But the general feeling was that Israel will continue to pursue a peace settlement through the Jarring machinery, in formed sources said. The Cabinet authorized the Premier and Foreign Minister to draft a new Israeli note for Dr. Jarring to convey to Cairo. An Israeli official told the JTA today, “We want to carry on with quiet diplomacy but quite frankly, I don’t know how long we can keep it up.” The JTA learned today that the Government is veering away from its earlier conditional willingness to accept a multinational force to police new Arab-Israeli borders that may be drawn up as part of an eventual peace agreement. Israel is firmly opposed to any force that would include troops of the Big Four powers and, especially, U.S. and Soviet contingents which it feels would turn the borders into a powder keg with a “potential nuclear charge.” The Israelis have agreed in principle to Big Power guarantees of a future peace pact but only as a supplement to a peace treaty, not a substitute for one.