TEL AVIV (Oct. 18)
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan indicated last night that the Middle East stalemate is likely to continue indefinitely because Israel is not prepared to withdraw from the Arab territories it took in the 1967 Six-Day War and the Arab governments are not prepared to make territorial concessions despite their battlefield defeats and deteriorating military position.
But Dayan noted that significant changes have occurred in the grass roots relations between Israelis and the Arab population in the occupied territories which bode well for the future. The Defense Minister addressed an audience at Tel Aviv University where honorary degrees were awarded to seven scholars, artists and community leaders, and doctorates conferred on graduates in medicine and philosophy.
Dayan maintained that time may not bring solutions to Israel’s problems “but it supports our assumptions and direct approach to realities.” He said that “On a realistic basis, we should listen attentively to the Arab attitude and meet them as far as possible but not more than that.”
The Defense Minister contended that Israelis and Arabs can live together in peace only under the auspices of the Israeli government and defense forces, not the other way around – not under Arab government and army control. Dayan claimed that should Israel withdraw from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, no Israeli would he able to set foot in those places.
He characterized as astonishing the attitude of the Arab governments which approach the Middle East problem with nationalistic dogma without relations to the military consequences. Despite the several defeats on the battlefields and the diminution of their chances for victory with the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Egypt, and the fact that Jordan has dissociated itself from the Arab front, the Arab leaders have not become more flexible, Dayan said.
Even Lebanon has not come closer to a peace agreement but has adhered to the Cairo Agreement which allows the terrorists to use Lebanon as a base against Israel, he stated. “I do not believe that in the foreseeable future the Arab governments will be ready for territorial concessions which derive from our activity in Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights,” Dayan observed.
He noted that in contrast to the Arab leadership, the Arab peoples in both Lebanon and in the occupied areas have come to realize that Israel intends them no harm. Villagers in southern Lebanon no longer escape when the Israeli Army enters the area, he said. He quoted articles in the Arabic press acknowledging the enormous economic and social Improvements of Arabs in the occupied areas. He said one such article was published in the Lebanese newspaper El Ha wades.