JERUSALEM (Jul. 13)
The Cabinet announced after a five-hour meeting this afternoon that it has empowered Israel’s negotiating team to continue the process of seeking “clarifications” on an interim accord by contacts with Washington, and through Washington, with Cairo, Informed sources said that no differences were expressed by members of the negotiating team at today’s session — though differences could not be ruled out when the time comes to take a final binding decision, the sources said.
The negotiating team consists of Premier Yitzhak Rabin, Foreign Minister Yigal Allon and Defense Minister Shimon Peres. Some informed sources suggested today that Peres might hold out against the final Egyptian terms. The general feeling was, however, that he would find himself in a minority with Rabin leaning toward those ministers who favored an accord.
The mood in Jerusalem was mildly upbeat following the Cabinet session at which Rabin reported on his talks with Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger in Bonn yesterday. Informed sources said they had the feeling, for the first time, that an agreement was shaping up on the horizon, though it was still distant and substantial obstacles remained to be overcome before it was reached.
PLEASED BY KISSINGER’S RESPONSE
The government apparently was pleased by Kissinger’s reported positive response to Israel’s insistence that it should not be totally dislodged from the strategic Sinai passes. The hope is that a similarly reasonable response will be forthcoming from Egypt, sources said. Israel reportedly has demanded the retention of a strip of territory at the eastern ends of the Mitle and Gidi passes. But officials here would not hint at the precise delineation of the Israeli demand. They noted that Egypt has yet to present a definitive map of its own minimum demands.
Ambassador Simcha Dinitz, who attended today’s Cabinet meeting, will accompany Foreign Minister Allon to London tomorrow to attend a meeting of Israeli Ambassadors there. He will return to Washington. Tuesday with, the latest Israeli requests for “clarifications” to present to Kissinger. Sources here noted that favorable progress has been made on U.S.-Israeli bilateral relations but problems, nevertheless, remained in that area, too.