JERUSALEM (Aug. 21)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger arrived here after 6 p.m. today seeming to affirm the note of cautious optimism detectable in both Israel and Egypt over the past few days on the chances of successfully concluding the interim agreement. It “should be possible,” he said in a prepared statement at Ben Gurion Airport, “to bring to a close this phase of diplomacy in the Middle East with positive results serving the interests of both sides and the cause of peace in the area.”
Highly placed Israeli sources also said today that a successful conclusion now seemed probable, though they noted that several points still remained in dispute. A reception at the Knesset was arranged this evening for the Secretary, Nancy Kissinger and their aides, with the negotiations themselves only due to start tomorrow morning. Observers deduced from this program that no sense of dire urgency was felt at this time.
Kissinger was due to fly on Alexandria tomorrow afternoon and was expected back in Israel Sunday evening. The Cabinet would meanwhile have convened for its weekly session Sunday morning and heard a progress report on the talks. In formed sources confirmed today that all the drafts of the Israel-Egypt and Israel-U.S. accords had been prepared, and only minor wording remained unsettled.
ISSUES BETWEEN ISRAEL, EGYPT
At issue chiefly between Israel and Egypt were:
* The line of Egyptian advance–Egypt still demands a deep advance which Israel rejects. But top sources here have indicated that Israel would be prepared to entertain some minor Egyptian advance beyond the present buffer zone. These sources contended that the general principle of demilitarization of Sinai would not be discredited by such an advance. They pointed out that strict “limitation of forces” clauses were to be included in the new accord and thus the number of Egyptian troops in Sinai would not be substantially increased beyond the present situation.
* The question of Israel’s continued operation of Umm Hashiba has also not yet finally won Egyptian consent–but Kissinger has reportedly said he favors the Israeli demand, and Israeli officials are assuming that Egypt will eventually agree. Israel is also pressing for six ministrations in the Mitle and Gidi Passes area to be manned by the American civilian contingent, and there are disputes still over the size and role of this contingent.
* On the U.S.-Israel plane the key issue of the aid figure has not yet been resolved and will likely be the subject of tough talking. The political and military understandings between Jerusalem and Washington have, however, been concluded–to the intense satisfaction of the Israeli negotiators.
PLEASED WITH ‘SECRET’ PACT
The Israeli team is also highly pleased with the “secret” Egypt-U.S.-Israel agreement in which the U.S. conveyed to Israel agreement in which the U.S. conveyed to Israel a number of commitments and undertakings made by Egypt. Among these is an Egyptian undertaking not to intervene in a war launched by another state against Israel. This “secret” agreement, which will be submitted to the U.S. House and Senate committees, also hardens the three-year commitment and contains provisions for ensuring that the agreement remains valid and effective even if a third party brings about a failure by the UN Security Council to renew the UNEF mandate.
KISSINGER EXPRESSES RENEWED HOPE
Kissinger added in his arrival statement: “The gap…has been substantially narrowed by concessions on both sides. I left Israel last March with a heavy heart fearing that still another horrible tragedy was in store for the people of Israel and the Mideast. I return today with the same concern, but with renewed hope that a strong desire for peace will prevail….I know that relations between Israel and the U.S. have gone through a difficult period. This has ended and we have emerged from our dialogue strengthened….”
(Kissinger said last night before departing for Israel he was confident that Israel’s long-standing requests’ for new U.S. weapons would be worked out. He gave that hint in a pre-departure statement at Andrews Air Force base near Washington. This seemed to suggest that Kissinger’s hint on renewal of the requested arms shipments was part of his strategy to convince the Israeli public that the proposed new accord was in Israel’s interests.)
ISRAEL NOT BEING PRESSURED
Ambassador Simcha Dinitz arrived here this morning from Washington to report to the negotiating team–Rabin, Allon and Defense Minister Shimon Peres–and to participate in the talks with Kissinger. In a brief statement to newsmen, Dinitz denounced all efforts to depict Israel as a nation which yields to dictates. He said Israel “has not acted, is not acting and will not act” according to dictates.
Declaring that such charges were an injustice, Dinitz said Israel was ready to reach a new interim agreement “but not at any price.” He said “We knew to say ‘no’ but we should not make the ‘no’ an ideology.”
Dinitz declined to make any predictions about the proposed accord. He said significant progress had been achieved which could not be achieved last March, when Kissinger’s initial shuttle effort for the second accord collapsed but, Dinitz added, there were still several points, “basic ones,” which were still to be settled. The envoy said resolution of those points was essential to an agreement and the United States was aware of it. He also said that an agreement could be reached only when there was an accord on those points.
Dinitz also declared that some of the elements of the proposed accord required Congressional approval. He refused to discuss what proportion of the proposed accord was still to be settled but he stressed that if an agreement was not reached, it made no difference how many points caused the failure.
Meanwhile, this evening after Kissinger arrived in Jerusalem there was a massive traffic jam as some 2000 dancing demonstrators blocked the main arteries in an effort to block the Secretary’s route from the hotel to the Knesset. In addition, the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement motorcaded 70 cars and trucks from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem shouting slogans in favor of the accord. They dispersed quietly on arrival in the capital.
The paragraph in the Behind the Headlines feature in the Aug, 21 Daily News Bulletin should have read “when Israel refused to concede the Mitle and Gidi Passes and the Abu Rodeis oilfields without a pledge of non-belligerence from Egypt.” not “from Israel.”