Menu JTA Search

Begin to Present Carter with Specific Ideas; West Bank, Bilateral Matters to Be High on the Agenda

Premier Menachem Begin told a closed meeting of the Likud Knesset faction that he will present President Carter with very specific concepts aimed at furthering prospects for a Middle East peace settlement when they meet in Washington July 19-20, it was learned today. Begin said that his ideas will be more than merely procedural aspects of peace negotiations. He said he would brief the Cabinet on them before his departure for the U.S. but that Carter will be the first to hear them fully and in detail. The Cabinet will meet tomorrow for the briefing.

The Jerusalem Past, quoting “well informed” sources, said today that the future of the West Bank will be high on the agenda of the Begin-Carter talks. The Post observed that the emphasis on Judaea and Samaria was urged by Carter who views the future of the West Bank as a focal point of the American conception of withdrawal and a “Palestinian homeland.”

It was also learned that the Begin-Carter talks will deal with bilateral matters between the U.S. and Israel as well as the Middle East conflict. Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan met with U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis yesterday to wrap up the agenda of Begin’s talks at the White House which will be part of his 10-day visit to the U.S. Dayan and Lewis were also reported to have discussed the planned Middle East tour of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance who is expected to leave shortly after the Carter-Begin talks.

The ideas and concepts that Begin will present to Carter are understood to have been drafted “in close cooperation” with Dayan and in consultation with Defense Minister Ezer Weizman.

EBAN ACCEPTS DAYAN’S PROPOSAL

Meanwhile, former Foreign Minister Abba Eban, a Labor MK, has accepted Dayan’s proposal that he visit the U.S. shortly as an information emissary for the government.

In his remarks to the Likud Knesset faction, Begin praised Eban’s decision. He said the Israeli diplomat will speak in America on those points on which there is a national “consensus” in Israel but will not advocate withdrawal from Judaea and Samaria, a controversial issue on which Eban is known to differ with Likud policy.

Last week when Eban was still considering Dayan’s offer he drew an angry reaction from Labor Alignment MKs who opposed the idea of a Laborite undertaking an information mission on behalf of the Likud government. But some Labor Party figures favored the trip. They said that relations between the U.S. and Israel have deteriorated in recent weeks to a point where they are “worse than political factionalism and disagreements.” They argued that Dayan’s proposal reflected a realistic assessment of the situation and an appreciation of the fact that Eban, one of Israel’s most eloquent spokesmen, is still one of the few Israelis who can make a persuasive case for his country’s position.

Eban stressed that he would express his own views in the U.S. He consulted several times with Labor Party leader Shimon Peres before accepting the mission. Some observers said the selection of Eban indicated disappointment and dissatisfaction with the accomplishments of Shmuel Katz who visited the U.S. for a similar purpose last month as a personal emissary of Begin. Katz, a veteran of Likud’s Herut faction, bitterly opposed the Eban trip.

NEXT STORY