WASHINGTON (Dec. 12)
Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon said today that “without the infamous resolution in the UN on the so-called PLO and the disastrous summit at Rabat, we might have been in the middle of hopeful negotiations, at least for an interim agreement with Egypt” and to “give the Palestinians the opportunity to express their identity within a peaceful context.” Allon made the remark in reply to questions after he addressed more than 100 diplomatic correspondents at a luncheon sponsored by the Overseas Writers Club here.
“We are not going to negotiate with the so-called PLO — not because they pretend to be Palestinians but because it is a roof for splinter organizations united by one idea, the elimination of the State of Israel,” Allon declared. But he indicated that Israel did not rule out negotiations with Palestinians. “Thank God there are other Palestinians,” he said, adding that Israel would accept their expressions of identity in a constructive way. He did not elaborate on who the “other Palestinians” are.
The Israeli Foreign Minister, who has held lengthy talks with Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and other government officials during his current visit in addition to a White House meeting with President Ford on Monday, told his audience that a new Middle East war was neither unavoidable nor inevitable. He said mat Israel was making sure that “no opportunity is overlooked to seek an agreement with each of her neighbors without discrimination.” He said that if Egypt were as forthcoming as Israel the chances for another agreement would be more feasible.
Allon said Israel favored bilateral negotiations because the problems are different nation-to-nation. He did not rule out a return to the Geneva conference but insisted, “We shall not accept the presence of the PLO at Geneva.”
NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PEACE TREATY
Asked if Israel would favor a U.S. Soviet guaranteed peace settlement, Allon said “that would be helpful” but not in place of a signed agreement. “There is no substitute for a peace treaty,” he declared. A proposal that the U.S. and USSR underwrite a Mideast peace settlement was made to Ford today by a group of prominent North American, European and Japanese businessmen and known as the Tri-lateral Commission which was formed in 1972 by David Rockefeller.
Asked about reports that the U.S. has urged Israel to return the Mitle and Gidi passes and the Abu Rodeis oil fields in Sinai to Egypt as part of a second stage disengagement agreement, Allon said, “We didn’t reach yet the drawing of lines on any map. We are still discussing principles and generalities. I have questions of the other side. What will they give us in return?” Asked if he detected any U.S. shift toward recognition of the PLO, Allon responded, “Not at all.”
FRIENDLY MEETING WITH SENATORS
Allon is due in New York tomorrow where he will address the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and is scheduled to return to Israel on Friday. Yesterday he lunched with seven members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in what was described by one of the participants as a “very, very friendly atmosphere.”
Allon reportedly thanked the Senators for aid to Israel included in the foreign aid bill, and for the letter sent by 71Senators from. 42 states to President Ford urging continued U.S. commitment to Israel. He also expressed Israel’s appreciation for the Senate action in cutting off U.S. funds to UNESCO. According to Sen. Gale McGee (D. Wyoming), Allon told the Foreign Relations Committee members that Israel is ready to negotiate with any Arab government, but not with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Meanwhile sources here reported today that former Israeli Premier Golda Meir who is presently visiting the U.S. will meet with President Ford and will be guest at a dinner to be given by Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger Dec. 18.