WASHINGTON (Mar. 8)
Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin declared today that “defensible boundaries” for Israel do not coincide “in any way with the lines before the Six-Day War.” Responding to a question about the term used by President Carter yesterday, Rabin said, “I believe defensible boundaries can be interpreted in different ways by different people. For me it allows Israel to defend itself by itself.”
Answering questions at a crowded news conference at Blair House, Rabin said “legally we have a right to negotiate boundaries.” He stressed that the only lines that existed in 1949 were those that the Arabs stressed were demarcation lines for military purposes and not necessarily boundaries that would be reached in a peace agreement. He said that 1967 lines “were not defensible.”
Rabin met with the press following a one-hour meeting in the White House Oval Office with Carter this morning. It was his fourth meeting, and one of two that were unscheduled. The other was a one-hour and 45-minute discussion late last night in the President’s private quarters at which only the two leaders were present. White House News Secretary Jody Powell said the meeting last night, which was at Carter’s request and followed the working dinner for Rabin, “covered core issues of the Middle East.”
Before last night’s dinner ended, Carter told the 35 guests that he wants to see Israel remain secure for a thousand years and he will do everything in his ability toward that end.
‘WE TALK OF GENUINE PEACE’
Rabin also told the press conference that there is “no need to add words to Israel’s desire for peace and to achieve peace.” But, he decried “false solutions” and emphasized that “we talk of genuine peace-the kind every man in the street will call peace.”
Israeli Premier stressed that “only parties to the conflict can negotiate, sign and maintain” an agreement in the Mideast. He said that “we will see what is possible and what is not possible” in regard to reconverning a Geneva conference this year. Noting that Israel has lived for 29 years “in limited agreements and sometimes without agreements.” Rabin said “If our neighbors are not ready” for real peace” then “I am sure we will agree to something.”
Rabin agreed that there is a Palestinian question, but emphasized “it is by no means the heart or the crux” of the Mideast conflict. He reiterated that “what prevents peace is the reluctance of the Arab governments to recognize Israel as a viable, independent Jewish State.” He said once this recognitions is achieved all the other problems will be easily solved through negotiations with Jordan, he said.
Powell told reporters yesterday after Rabin and Carter held their 90-minute conference that the “question of the PLO did not come up.” Powell noted that the U.S. “has said as long as the PLO does not accept the existence of Israel and the Security Council resolutions we do not see a way for the PLO to fit into the peace process.”
ISRAEL’S ARMS SALES DISCUSSED
Powell said today that Carter and Rabin have agreed to a formulation of policy that will preclude situations where Israel is prevented form fulfilling orders from foreign countries for military equipment produced under U.S. refusal to issue re-export licenses for 24 Israel-made kfir jet fighters to Ecuador. The kfir’s are powered by General Electric engines.
At his press conference, Rabin confirmed that he and Carter “agreed to develop machinery” to obtain agreement before Israel concluded a sale of arms to a foreign buyer. He said that “while the US. May not agree to every country to which we might sell” military equipment, the number of countries to which Israel will be allowed to make such sales will be greater than the number where the U.S. would object.
He said “it would be better for Israel not to some to the U.S. about every item” it wants to sell. He stressed that it was in his country’s interest to export part of its arms production, but that Israel was not seeking to become “a merchant of arms.”
U.S. WILL SELL ISRAEL F-16S
Powell said that Carter had re-affirmed to Rabin that the U.S. will sell Israel F-16 fighter planes, originally promised by the numbers and timing of deliveries has not been decided. He said the U.S. reversal of the Ford Administration’s offer to sell Israel concussion bombs did not come up during the Rabin-Carter talks. Rabin also said that he had not heard from Carter any demands to reduce the present level of U.S. arms shipments to Israel.