Dinitz: Israel at Threshold of Peace

Simha Dinitz, Israel’s Ambassador-designate to the United States, said last night that for the first-time in its 25 year history, Israel stands at the threshold of peace, largely because “the Arabs for the first time think they have something to gain from peace.” Dinitz addressing 160 U.S. and Canadian Jewish leaders attending the conference of the Israel Bond Organization convened here by Premier Golda Meir, stressed the need for Israel to remain strong so that it can resist political pressures “to accept a compromise that will lead to another war.”

“You are pressured less when you are strong. When you are pressured, you are able to resist it more if you are strong.” he said. He claimed that Israel’s “weakness” in 1956 forced it to succumb to international pressures to retreat from the territories it captured during the Sinai campaign

Dinitz, who is expected to take up his Washington post in mid-March, following Mrs. Meir’s meeting with President Nixon, seemed to be trying to avoid any inference that he expected Israel to be pressured by the U.S. He reminded his audience that Nixon told a newsman recently that the U.S. would be unlikely to succeed if it exerted pressure on Israel to accept a peace agreement which violated its interests; and that Israel was simply “not squeezable.” Dinitz added, “Our job is to see that Israel remains unseizable.”

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Addressing an earlier session of the conference Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan also dealt with prospects for an overall Middle East settlement. Allon said that during his trip to Washington last Dec., “It was understood between my hosts and myself that the time was ripe for political steps but that no premature initiative should be taken and there should be no imposed solution.” He stated that “America is not going to initiate plans but feels that this should be left to the parties concerned.”

Dayan said he hoped U.S. officials would play “a positive role” in bringing the Middle East parties together to the negotiating table.” He said he thought an interim Suez Canal agreement “would help” the Mideast situation but would not necessarily imply that future agreements would automatically flow from that local accord. Dayan said Israel’s policy was that parts of the administered territories were open to negotiations but these did not include the Golan Heights or Sharm El-Sheikh.

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