Rabin: There Must Be Direct Talks Before Interim Accord is Signed

Premier Yitzhak Rabin said here tonight he was “more than disappointed” with President Anwar Sadat’s anti-Israel rhetoric in the Egyptian leader’s major policy speech yesterday. Rabin said if there was to be an interim agreement a change of attitude, of policies and of rhetoric would have to take place in the relations between the two countries. The Premier said there must be face-to-face talks between teams from the two sides before the negotiations are finally concluded and the signing held.

Informed sources said the timetable envisaged by Israel projected a face-to-face session–similar to those held before the disengagement signing–some time in September, assuming a Kissinger shuttle is held in August. Rabin did not refer to Egypt’s agreement to renew the UNEF mandate, an omission in keeping with Israel’s policy all along of reacting coolly to Egypt’s obvious pressure tactic in connection with the mandate renewal. The Premier spoke at the convention of American Mizrachi Women, at the Jerusalem Theater. Among the guests was U.S. Ambassador Malcolm Toon.

Rabin said Sadat’s speech has shown the Egyptian leader did not understand the deep roots of the Jewish State. Sadat, Rabin said, did “not realize” the real meaning of Judaism or Zionism–as was so clearly shown by his reference to Israel as an imperialist creation. This was “not a good sign for the present or for the future,” Rabin said somberly. He had been “more than disappointed” to hear Sadat speak of Israel as a “dagger” in the Arab midst. Without a change in this type of attitude and rhetoric it was “more than doubtful” whether an interim agreement would be achieved.

COMPROMISES NEEDED ON BOTH SIDES

The essence of the projected agreement was the parties’ undertaking to renounce force in the solution of their conflict and to undertake that negotiations were the sole method that they would employ. This hardly accorded with the Egyptian leader’s sentiments, Rabin stressed. However, he added, Israel would “continue to try our best” to negotiate the agreement. He expressed hope that the negotiations would yet produce the desired change of attitude in the Egyptian approach. It must be perfectly clear, Rabin declared, that the interim agreement is a meaningful step towards peace. If it were not, then there would be no point for Israel in concluding it.

“We are still in the negotiating process,” Rabin continued, and there would be further exchanges of views with the Egyptians through the U.S., “but that doesn’t mean that Egypt can dictate to us….Both sides must come forward and make compromises….” The Premier asserted that it was unacceptable to argue that Sadat’s hard-line statement had been made in lip-service to Arab hard-liners. If the interim agreement was truly to be a step toward peace, then it was Sadat’s duty as Egypt’s leader to “prepare” his people and the Arab world for this step, Rabin declared.

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