JERUSALEM (Jan. 16)
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan said last night that prospects were now good for negotiations with Egypt and that Israel, which is in a position of strength, should be ready to make compromises. Appearing on a television interview, Dayan attributed the improved climate for talks to the fact that President Anwar Sadat of Egypt knows he cannot move Israel by threats of war or by pressure from the United States. Dayan did not elaborate on the nature of the compromises.
The internal problems facing Sadat have improved chances for negotiations and these basic facts are more significant than words emanating from Cairo, Dayan said. He was referring to Sadat’s speech Thursday which, according to Israeli experts who analyzed its text, leaned toward continued diplomatic efforts even though Sadat insisted that he was prepared to go to war. The Egyptian leader was seen as trying to improve his position at home which was weakened by his failure to follow through on his promise that 1971 would be the “year of decision” on war with Israel.
ISRAEL’S STRENGTH A FACTOR
The Israeli analysts said Sadat did not close the door completely on an interim agreement to reopen the Suez Canal but is now placing greater emphasis on a continuation of the Jarring mission. According to the Israelis, Sadat can be expected to try to revive the Jarring mission on his own terms which require an Israeli commitment to withdraw from the Sinai. But failing to accomplish this, he will try again for an interim Suez accord with the US serving as mediator, they said.
Dayan noted that Israel’s superior strength has deterred the Egyptian leader from making war. He said Sadat recognized that Israel’s presence on the Suez Canal, its defenses in depth in the Sinai and its air power would doom any Egyptian attempt to cross the waterway. As a consequence, Dayan said, chances for negotiations are better now than in the past and Israel must make it clear to the Egyptians that it is prepared to make compromises within the framework of negotiations.
Foreign Minister Abba Eban said in a radio interview yesterday that the only barrier to a resumption of the Jarring mission was Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring’s demand that Israel commit Itself in advance to withdrawal. He said it was too early to say what the next stage in the Jarring mission might be. He said that last week’s meeting between Jarring and Israel’s UN Ambassador Yosef Tekoah was a preliminary talk and that further meetings will follow.