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Rabin; Israel Has Right to Decide for Itself What Risks to Take to Achieve Peace with Neighbors

Premier Yitzhak Rabin said last night that because Israel must defend itself alone “we have the elementary right to decide for ourselves what we can risk and what we dare not risk as we work to achieve peace with our neighbors,”

Rabin, the first Israeli Premier to visit West Germany in an official capacity, spoke at a dinner given in his honor here by Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. His remarks that Israel will determine what risks it can afford seemed to be at least partly in response to West Germany’s urging of Israel to be more flexible in current negotiations for an interim agreement with Egypt.

In Rabin’s three-hour meeting with Schmidt yesterday, which government spokesman Klaus Boelling described as “frank and relaxed,” the West German Chancellor reportedly told his guest that the right time for an interim agreement should not be missed, Boelling did not indicate whether Schmidt meant that the right time was the present. But Schmidt, who listened to Rabin’s views on the Middle East, expressed great interest in an interim settlement without which he felt there was little hope for progress or results from a reconvened Geneva peace conference.


At a press conference in West Berlin yesterday, Rabin stressed that Israel was ready to seek a secure, just and honest peace but not at any price. He said his country was seeking ways to lessen the danger of hostilities by cease-fire and troop disengagement agreements but wanted comparable concessions from Egypt. He denied press reports of recent days that an interim accord with Egypt was virtually concluded in principle and said that three “key issues” remained outstanding: the durations of an accord, the line of Israeli withdrawal and the fate of the advance warning system in Sinai,

Rabin stressed that without agreement on these points and concessions on both sides, “I doubt whether such an agreement will be achieved.” Regarding reports that the U.S. would supervise the surveillance posts after an Israeli withdrawal, Rabin remarked that “No one could run them better than Israelis, Nor would any third party be better for Egypt than Egyptians.”

Apparently referring to Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s statement last Saturday on ABC-TV urging Israel to take risks for peace, Rabin said: “I would advise the representatives of the United States to call upon both sides to take risks for peace. We are prepared to take tangible risks including troop withdrawals, the loss of territory and the oilfields at Abu Rodeis. All we are going to get in exchange is at best words.” Rabin will meet with Kissinger here Saturday,

At the dinner in his honor here last night, Rabin stressed that Israel, “from the day of our independence we have had to defend ourselves by ourselves at great cost and sacrifice. We shall continue to defend ourselves alone and because of that we have the elementary right to decide for ourselves what we can risk and what we dare not risk as we work to achieve peace with our neighbors.” He said that Western Europe’s greatest contribution toward peace would be to encourage those directly involved to negotiate a settlement of their differences without outside interference. “No one can serve as a substitute,” he said.