JERUSALEM (Aug. 20)
Premier Yitzhak Rabin made it clear last night that the theme of his visit next month to Washington will be “no more disengagement agreements.” Speaking to some 2000 Nahal members, Rabin declared: “The disengagement agreements between Israel. Egypt and Syria have been signed and there are no more disengagement agreements. The next stage is progress toward significant peace agreements.”
At the same time, Rabin did not rule out the possibility of war. “If we have to go to war. one should know that we do so only because our peaceful intentions were not met by our neighbors,” he said. The Premier noted that the peace Arab leaders talk about in their visits abroad is not the same kind of peace Israel is willing to accept.
Rabin’s speech was interpreted here as a clear message to the United States that Israel is determined not to join American and Jordanian efforts for disengagement talks between Israel and Jordan prior to an overall Mideast settlement or prior to the continued negotiations with Egypt and Syria. Israel did announce in the past that she was ready for a partial settlement with Jordan, but this did not mean, it is stressed here, that she would agree for a one-sided Israeli withdrawal.
Officials in Jerusalem also expressed reservations over the way Washington announced the date of Rabin’s visit to the U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger made his announcement at a press conference yesterday without first receiving Israel’s reply to the proposed date. Rabin will meet with President Ford before Egyptian President Anwar Sadat does. Israel would prefer that Sadat go to Washington first. However, it was said here, since Ford wants to see Rabin in Sept., the Premier will probably go there at that time.
(The State Department announced today that Syrian Foreign Minister Abdul Halim Kadam is due in Washington tomorrow and will hold talks with Kissinger Thursday and Friday.)
KISSINGER SEEN AS MOVING TOO FAST
Political analysts in Israel explained that Kissinger seems to be in a hurry to deal with the Middle East, despite the current Cyprus crisis. Kissinger feels, according to some analysts, that the situation in the area is deteriorating and the best way to stabilize the present quiet is to accelerate the rate of meetings between Mideast leaders and himself. The Cyprus crisis and Ford’s natural interest in quick successes is also interpreted as factors in Kissinger’s wish to speed up the Mideast disengagement talks.
It is therefore believed here that Rabin will tell the new Administration that talks with Egypt should precede talks with Jordan since any progress in negotiations with Egypt may change the atmosphere between Israel and Jordan. In addition, continued negotiations with Egypt will post-pone Israel’s difficult decisions on the Palestinians. It will also postpone fulfilling the Labor Party’s promise to hold general elections as soon as the government will have to decide on giving up part of Judea or Samaria.
Opposition leaders, however, are not going to wait until Rabin goes to Washington to voice their opinion. They asked today for a special Knesset session on Sunday’s joint American-Jordanian communique in which Ford and King Hussein agreed to work toward Israeli-Jordanian disengagement negotiations.
Rabin’s speech last night at Zemah on Lake Tiberias, was to members of 17 Nahal groups, military units which spend part of their service time working in agricultural settlements. The youths cheered him calling him “Gingy.” his nick-name when he served in the Palmach.