Cabinet Reacts Sharply to Fahmy’s Statement: Allon Terms It Absurd

The government reacted sharply tonight to Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy’s “so-called peace proposals” which demand that Israel declare a 50-year moratorium on immigration and return to the 1947 partition boundaries. Premier Yitzhak Rabin said at today’s weekly Cabinet meeting that Fahmy’s statement imposed a “large and serious question mark over Egypt’s willingness to negotiate a second stage settlement in Sinai.”

Foreign Minister Yigal Allon, who just returned from a week of meetings with U.S. officials in Washington, read a statement at the Cabinet meeting rejecting Fahmy’s demands as “absurd from beginning to end” and “entirely without foundation.” Declaring that aliya was “the life and soul of the State,” Allon declared that neither the restraint of immigration nor the 1947 lines could ever serve as a basis for negotiations not even as a bargaining point. He said Israel also utterly rejected the “alternative” idea of a “democratic secular Palestine state” proposed by the Palestine Liberation Organization.

TALKS IN U.S. NOT OPTIMISTIC

Allon’s report on his talks in Washington with Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and other officials presented an uncertain and clearly non-optimistic picture of the political situation but expressed satisfaction over the status of bilateral relations between Israel and the U.S. He said he was pleased with the pace of implementation of economic and military aid agreements that were concluded during Rabin’s visit to Washington last September.

Cabinet Secretary Gershon Avner disclosed later that Allon discussed Israel’s attitude toward the offer of an American nuclear reactor and nuclear material which was made by former President Nixon to both Israel and Egypt last June. Avner gave no details, however, and would not say whether the nuclear deal was still on.

On the political front, Allon reported that the situation that arose after the Arab summit meeting in Rabat still prevailed. It was still necessary to determine whether Egypt is in fact willing to negotiate a second stage agreement with Israel, he said. He asserted the ball was in Cairo’s court and Israel could but wait and see what developed after Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev’s visit to the Egyptian capital next month.

The Cabinet agreed that if Allon returns to Washington next month as has been proposed, his trip would be preceded by a long Cabinet discussion of the fundamentals of the political situation as Israel’s response to it.

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