JERUSALEM (Jul. 8)
West Germany’s visiting Foreign Minister Walter Scheel held his first “working session” here this morning with Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban. Later he met with Premier Golda Meir and Knesset Speaker Reuben Barkatt and was conducted on a tour of East and West Jerusalem by Mayor Teddy Kollek which included visits to the Wailing Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Mosque of Omar. At the Wailing Wall square the party was jeered by a group of blue-uniformed members of Betar, a militant youth group, who repeated the cries of “Germans, murderers” which they shouted at Scheel yesterday as he entered the Yad Vashem Memorial Hall to place a wreath. During the day, the black, red and gold West German flag mysteriously disappeared from the Town Hall where it had been flying between two Israeli flags in honor of the guests.
No announcement was made of the substance of Scheel’s talks with Eban today but there were indications that they contributed somewhat toward allaying Israel’s fears that West Germany might be enticed by France to follow what Jerusalem considers an anti-Israel policy. Guido Brunner, a spokesman for the Bonn Foreign Ministry, who is accompanying Scheel on his four-day Israel visit, said today that “The Federal Republic does not regard the total evacuation by Israel of all the conquered territories as indispensable to the achievement of peace in the region.” Brunner stressed, however, that his Government is on record in support of the Security Council’s Mideast resolution of Nov. 22, 1967. Israel itself has accepted the resolution though its interpretation of the document differs sharply from that of the Soviet and Arab blocs and of France. Observers here said the basic differences between Israel and West Germany is over their approaches to the Middle East and other global political questions.
Bonn believes in joint consultations between all members of the European Economic Community with a view to arriving at a joint foreign policy. Israel would prefer to deal bi-laterally with each member nation on the Mideast conflict rather than with a bloc which, it fears, is unduly influenced by France. France, the most powerful single element in the Common Market community, has attempted to make its Mideast policy the policy of the ECC. Israeli political circles say West Germany nearly fell into a “trap” last May when a French-sponsored document on the Mideast was tentatively accepted by the Common Market foreign ministers. The document demanded Israel’s total withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories and the internationalization of Jerusalem, among other things. The document was pigeon-holed after Eban intervened with individual foreign ministers. But Jerusalem fears it might be revived in another guise and hopes to enlist West German help to prevent it from becoming official ECC policy.
Mayor Teddy Kollek officially welcomed Scheel to Jerusalem at a reception in the Town Hall today where the German statesman met local lay and religious leaders of the Jewish and Arab communities. Kollek said he hoped “no strange principle would be allowed to interfere with the peace established by the inhabitants of the united city.” Scheel’s reply was in the same vein as his remarks at Lydda Airport yesterday. He said he did not regard his visit to Israel as “routine” because it was made against the “background of tragic events that occurred between your people and mine.” He continued, “No one can forget what has been done to the Jewish people in the name of Germany. This background will always continue to exist. But we have decided to look not only to the past but also to the future.”