Israel Reassured by U.S. Envoy

Israeli officials who attended the Fourth of July reception at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence last night–Premier Menachem Begin among them–were reassured by the American envoy, Samuel Lewis, that President Carter has not changed his conceptions as to the essence of an Israeli-Arab peace settlement.

Raising toasts to the Presidents of the U.S. and Israel and to Begin, Lewis stressed Carter’s ideas on the nature of a Mideast peace settlement–commercial relations and the exchange of tourists between Israel and its neighbors. He expressed confidence in the success of Begin’s forthcoming visit to Washington and said that he and President Carter would agree on principles in their talks because both are men of principles.

LIKUD MOVE ON EBAN RILES LABOR

Meanwhile, the Labor Alignment is in a furore over a proposal by the Likud government to send former Foreign Minister Abba Eban to the U.S. to explain Israel’s position to American officials and the public. Eban, a Labor member of the Knesset, has discussed the suggestion with Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and seems inclined to accept it. But many members of the Labor Alignment say it would be outrageous for Eban to speak in America on behalf of Likud.

MK Itzhak Navon said that many people in the U.S. would not understand the subtle but important difference between the national consensus over the need for secure borders, meaning no return to the 1967 lines, and the general attitude of Likud. It would appear, he said, as if Eban supported the Likud ideology.

Eban has countered such arguments by stressing that if he accepted the Likud proposal he would express his own ideas and Likud knows exactly what his ideas are. Eban has discussed the matter at length with Labor Party leader Shimon Peres and will also sound out American Jewish leaders before deciding whether to make the trip.

Efforts meanwhile are continuing to ease the tension between Israel and the U.S. created by recent Administration statements on the need for Israel to withdraw from occupied territories. Dayan and Lewis met several days ago to discuss Begin’s trip to Washington. Lewis told reporters later that their talk was quite satisfactory and “we cleared the air.” He said Begin would receive a very warm welcome at the White House and will be treated as an honored guest.

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