JERUSALEM (Mar. 21)
Concern that Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger may ask Israel to make unacceptable concessions to Syria in return for a disengagement accord appeared today to be a major factor in Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s hesitation over his trip to Washington next week. Dayan is scheduled to arrive in Washington March 29 with Israel’s disengagement proposals. But be fears that under the present circumstances his visit could become an occasion for Kissinger to exert pressure, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned.
The Secretary of State has reportedly intimated that Israel should hand back a slice of the Golan Heights captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, possibly including the town of Kuneitra, Kissinger has said that Kuneitra is for Syria what the Suez Canal was for Egypt. He has let it be known that he hopes to obtain for Syria no less than what he got for Egypt in its Jan. 21 disengagement accord with Israel–the return of part of its lands lost in 1967.
The government is solidly opposed to any Israeli pullback from the 1967 lines in the north at this stage although Dayan himself has said it would be prepared to discuss such a withdrawal in the context of a final peace settlement with Syria.
LIKUD DEMANDS SYRIA BE HIT
Against this background, Dayan dealt in the Knesset today with a Likud demand that the army strike hard and deep into Syria to end what it called the Syrian war of attrition. The demand was contained in an urgent agenda motion submitted by Haim Landau, the No, 2 man of Herut. He said the Syrians were committing aggression on the northern front in order to press Kissinger to turn the heat on Israel for substantial territorial concessions.
According to Landau, Damascus understands only force and a powerful thrust by the Israeli army would curb Syrian aggression and pave the way for a disengagement accord that did not prejudice Israel’s security. The Likud leader laid down three conditions for disengagement: no Israeli withdrawal beyond the 1967 lines; a prisoner of war exchange; and permission for Syrian Jews to leave for a safe haven.
Dayan, replying for the government, conceded that Israel was capable of exerting greater force against Syria, including air power. But, be said, the question is whether that would achieve the desired results of an end to the Syrian shooting and a separation of forces agreement. Dayan also cautioned that escalation might not draw the other Arab states into open conflict but Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti troops presently in Syria would certainly join in the action. The Knesset voted 52-1 to confine further debate on the Likud motion to its foreign affairs and security committee which meets in closed session. (By David Landau.)