Israel “stronger Now’ Than Before Talks, Says Meir

Premier Golda Meir said Friday that while Israel did not expect the Egyptians to start shooting when the present Suez Canal truce expires on Feb. 5, “we are ready” if they did. She told a student meeting that “we have the fullest confidence” and that Israel was “stronger now than when we decided to be back to the talks” at the United Nations under UN emissary Gunnar Jarring last November. She added that she was not happy over the “slow progress” of the Jarring talks “but these must be given a chance to continue.” She explained that if Israel had not returned to the UN talks, there “would have been a danger of our arms supplies drying out.” In response to question, she said the Jarring talks should not be labeled “a failure” at the present time, and said “we are only in the corridor” now. Some 15 young persons, including three girls, were detained while demonstrating outside the hotel where the Premier spoke. Members of Israel’s “New Left,” they said they were protesting against Israeli “atrocities” in the Gaza Strip. They were released for later charges of illegal demonstrations.

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