JERUSALEM (Mar. 9)
Officials in Jerusalem would not comment this morning on President Anwar Sadat’s assertion yesterday that he would not sign a non-belligerency pact with Israel until all Arab lands had been vacated. Privately, officials said they hoped this was only an opening position and could afford room for maneuver. But it was clear on the eve of Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s arrival here that “non-belligerency” will be perhaps the biggest single sticking point in the American diplomat’s make-or-break second-stage settlement effort.
Israel demands that the agreement contain a mutual, direct and formal undertaking by both sides to renounce the use of force in the settlement of their conflict. Sadat has publicly and repeatedly rejected this demand at this stage, explaining that he could only contemplate such a far-reaching undertaking in the context of a final settlement–or at least linked to a total Israel withdrawal from occupied Arab lands.
Some observers here believe that Kissinger himself will eventually step in with formulations of his own designed to bridge the gap between the two sides’ positions, Such American intervention