JERUSALEM (Mar. 3)
The talks between Premier Yitzhak Rabin and President Carter that will begin in Washington Monday morning will be “a comprehensive and fundamental” review of Middle East problems and U.S. Israeli relations. They are not expected to touch on “operational details,” officials close to Rabin told reporters at a briefing here today.
The “operative” discussions to decide how to reconvene the Geneva peace conference will start only after all of the Middle East leaders have met with Carter over the next several weeks, aides to the Premier indicated. No hard and binding decisions on the Palestinian aspect of the procedural problem are likely to be taken until after Israel’s general elections May 17, they said.
Rabin intends to use his visit to Washington to establish a close personal relationship with Carter. He will also meet with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Defense Secretary Harold Brown, Secretary of the Treasury W. Michael Blumenthal and Congressional leaders of both parties In addition, there will be a meeting between Rabin and Zbigniew Brzezinski, chairman of the National Security Council.
PROBLEM OF PALESTINIAN ISSUE
All parties have acknowledged publicly that the question of Palestinian representation at the Geneva conference is the greatest single obstacle to its resumption. Vance would like the conference to get underway in the fall. But the Carter Administration is not likely to press Israel for a decision on this issue until after the May 17 elections.
On his visit here two weeks ago, Vance asked Israeli leaders if the only solution acceptable to them was Palestinian representation as part of the Jordanian delegation. He was told that it was, but so far no ARab statesman has publicly agreed to that solution. When Vance asked Israeli leaders if they would consider a single unified Arab delegation embracing all of the confrontation states and the PLO, the reaction was negative. Israel sources noted afterwards that Vance carefully refrained from disclosing his own views. He simply asked the question and wrote down the response in a notebook. they said.
OPPOSES POSTPONEMENT OF VISIT
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Yigal Allon replied in the Knesset yesterday to a Likud motion demanding that Rabin postpone his visit to Washington because of the upcoming elections. Likud has accused the Carter Administration of inviting Rabin at this time in order to bolster the political fortunes of the Labor Alignment. But Allon said Carter would not have postponed the visits of Arab leaders if Rabin had declined to go to Washington at this time.
He said Likud should have been pleased that Rabin was the first Middle East leader invited to meet the new American President and that Secretary Vance made Jerusalem his first stop on his six-nation Mideast tour last month. Allon also reminded the opposition that under law the care taker regime has the same powers and responsibilities as a regular administration. For Rabin not to go to Washington now would have harmed Israel’s interests, the Foreign Minister said.
Inevitably, observers here will be comparing the reception Rabin gets in Washington with that accorded the Arab leaders who will follow him in April and May. There have been some press reports indicating that Israel are disappointed that Carter has scheduled a “working dinner” with Rabin rather than a full-fledged State banquet in his honor.