Reactions to Waldheim’s Report: Non-committal to Indifference

Premier Golda Meir was non-committal today in her comment on United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim’s report on the Middle East released yesterday. She said that if Waldheim was offering the UN machinery to help bring the parties into negotiations, that was all the good. But, Mrs. Meir observed, Egypt in the past has rejected American efforts in that direction and the UN’s peace-making record has not been a great success. She said that was the fault of the member stales, not the Secretary General.

Mrs. Meir, addressing a Foreign Press Association luncheon here, claimed that the Middle East impasse was caused primarily by Arab refusal to accept Israel’s existence. She said Israel’s demand for secure borders was occasioned by the volatile nature of the Arab regimes which meant that one regime might not respect treaty obligations entered into by its predecessor.

She said that the Palestinians’ future lay in the State of Jordan, and suggested they could call it Jordan Palestine or Palestine Jordan if they wished. She declared that the plight of the Palestinians was not comparable to Jewish homelessness because there was Jordan and 17 other Arab states open to them.

BLAME JARRING FOR IMPASSE

Official circles displayed indifference to Waldheim’s Middle East report, which emphasized the importance of the UN’s role in finding a way to peace in the Middle East. While there was no immediate official reaction to the report, political observers expressed the feeling that Waldheim’s confidence in the Security Council as an instrument for a Middle East settlement was misplaced. They noted that past resolutions by that body did nothing to reduce tension in the area.

Israeli circles claimed that it was the Secretary General’s special representative to the Middle East Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring, who had jeopardized plans for an interim Suez settlement with his famous aide memories of Feb. 1971 in which he asked both sides to state in advance what commitments they would make toward peace.

Observers saw Waldheim’s call for a reappraisal of the Security Council’s role in the Middle East as a possible initiative for a new formula to solve the conflict. The Arab states are reportedly pressing for the establishment of a three-member consultative committee of the Security Council to assist Dr. Jarring in a renewed peace mission. Israel is opposed to any change in Dr. Jarring’s mandate and any alteration of Resolution 242.

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