NEW YORK (Jan. 24)
An Israeli official declared here today that the Israeli-Egyptian disengagement agreement could not serve as a model for disengagement agreements that may eventually be negotiated with Syria and Jordan. Ambassador Simcha Dinitz, addressing a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said that if talks between Israel and Syria materialize, it has to be clear that the situation on the Syrian front is “not identical” with that on the Egyptian front because the military and political situations are utterly different and demand different considerations.
Dinitz said the same attitude applied to negotiations with Jordan. But he stressed that it was Israel’s unequivocal position that no negotiations will be undertaken with Syria until that country provides a list of Israeli POWs in its hands and permits representatives of the International Red Cross to visit the POWs. He said Syria’s refusal to comply with those basic requirements governing the treatment of POWs created an “unbelievable situation” that went “against the grain of humanity.”
He said the disengagement agreement between Israel and Egypt contained good elements for both sides and which Israel recognized as a phase toward a general peace agreement. He said he hoped the disengagement accord will create a new atmosphere in the region but added that Israel was being “very watchful and diligent” to see that its terms are scrupulously observed.
NEW LINES DEFENSIBLE
Dinitz insisted that there was no pressure whatsoever from the U.S. government on Israel with regard to the agreement. “We were not coerced or squeezed or pressured,” he said. He said that Israel’s feeling with respect to the U.S. was that “we were dealing with a friendly government” that shared the same goals. The envoy said that the overriding principle behind Israel’s pullback from the Suez Canal was that the new lines were defensible and did not pose a risk in the event of a new war.
Another principle, he said, was the limitation of weapons in the zones occupied by both sides which precluded the threat of SAM missiles in the skies over the Israeli zone. He noted that the agreement provided for inspection of the limited weapons zones by the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in liaison with the party concerned. Dinitz said that Israel had received assurances of two kinds–those from Egypt conveyed by the U.S. and those implicit in the U.S. interpretation of the agreement’s provisions.
He said that from talks with Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger it appeared that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat does not intend a new attack on Israel. However, Dinitz said, should the Egyptians renege, their intentions would become apparent well before they were able to launch a new war. He said that Israel wanted enough time to elapse to assure that the agreement is being carried out by Egypt “before we are asked to take a new risk.”
The Ambassador insisted that the flow of U.S. arms to Israel must continue as a deterrent against the massive arms flow to the Arabs from the Soviet Union. He said the obscure Russian role in the disengagement accord was “still a puzzle for all of us” but he didn’t exclude a more active role by Moscow at the Geneva peace conference.