JERUSALEM (Dec. 17)
A top-ranking Israeli official denied today that Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger had told a group of American Jewish intellectuals and academics in a recent Washington meeting that Israel would have to withdraw to its pre-June 1967 borders.” The official’s denial came after a report appeared yesterday in Maariv by its correspondent, Yuval Elizur, stating that Kissinger had said this. The official asserted that Kissinger could not have discussed this and then hope to continue in his present role in the Mideast.
According to Elizur, who is also the Israeli correspondent for The Washington Post, Kissinger met with the group that included four Harvard professors and Norman Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, in the hope that they would exert their influence on the Israeli government. The meeting was reportedly held at Kissinger’s initiative on Dec. 6, a day before his meeting in Washington with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, (Podhoretz, called today by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, confirmed the statement by the Israeli official that Kissinger had not discussed the problem of Israel’s borders. He told the JTA that he was not sure why the Secretary of State called the meeting.”I think he may have wanted to make his position clear that he had no intention of harming Israel in any way,” Podhoretz said. “This was not a political meeting since none of the people in attendance has a constituency.”)
Elizur reported that Kissinger had told the group that he hoped to push the Geneva talks along at a brisk pace dealing with one issue at a time and hoped the conference would be concluded within four months, Kissinger also reportedly told the group that the U.S. airlifted 110.000 tons of equipment, approximately 25 percent of conventional hardware that the U.S. had stockpiled for its own forces in order to resupply Israel during the Yom Kippur War and implied that Israel could not expect a repetition should a new war erupt in the Middle East. Kissinger blamed both Israel and the U.S. for missing “golden opportunities” for peace negotiations in the past and blamed himself, too, He con tended that both Egypt and Jordan had been ready to talk peace on past occasions, Elizur reported,
The correspondent, who is regarded as one of Israel’s leading journalists, did not mention the source of his information on the meeting which he said lasted 90 minutes, During the course of the meeting Kissinger also reportedly. claimed that Israel won a tactical victory but suffered a strategic defeat during the war, He expressed the view that the Arabs could have scored greater successes were it not for their mistakes, such as exposing their armor unprotected to Israeli air attack, Kissinger also reportedly expressed the hope that the territories evacuated by Israel would be demilitarized as a result of the Geneva talks.
There will be no Bulletin dated Dec. 25 (X-mas) and dated Jan. 1 (New Year), both postal holidays.