WASHINGTON (Sep. 20)
Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan said today that “a formula will be found” to reconvene the Geneva peace conference before the end of this year despite the differences between Israel and the U.S. that emerged at his talks yesterday with President Carter and his principal aides. “Americans better understand now our position” and “we shall be more understanding of the American position,” Dayan told a heavily attended press conference at the Washington-Hilton Hotel here this afternoon.
Responding to questions, the Foreign Minister spoke in conciliatory tones. But he also displayed adamancy on such crucial issues as Israel’s refusal to deal in any manner with the Palestine Liberation Organization, its absolute rejection of any Palestinian “entity” or “homeland,” its determination never to return to its pre-1967 borders and insistence on its right to establish settlements on the West Bank.
He acknowledged that the Carter Administration differed with Israel on these matters. But he said that the President did not hint of any U.S. use of its aid program to Israel to induce it to accept Washington’s ideas.
“I haven’t felt anything of this kind,” Dayan told a questioner. “The issue of a Palestinian state is so important for us, I don’t really think even though the U.S. and President Carter’s position is different, they would impose it on us. They will try to convince us, “he said.
BASIS FOR OPTIMISM
Asked to support his optimism over the Geneva conference, Dayan said, “I estimate Geneva can be convened before the end of the year with what I know of the attitudes of the Arab states, not the PLO.” He said that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and King Hussein of Jordan “really do want peace– their peace–and (to) achieve it by political means, not fighting a war to impose conditions.”
At another point, Dayan said, “A way can be found” for the conference by the U.S. and Israel and “maybe the Arab states. Every day we are closer to it.” He stressed that Israel will continue to oppose “any known member” of the PLO “to take part in the conference” and noted that the U.S. wants “Palestinians” in the conference but not necessarily the PLO.
“And so, ultimately, an agreed formula will be found,” Dayan said. But he rejected suggestions by the Arabs, which have found some favor in Washington, for a pan-Arab delegation. He insisted that Israel must negotiate with the states on its borders.
ALLUDES TO DIFFERENCES WITH U.S.
Referring to his talks with Carter, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and other Administration officials yesterday, Dayan said “I am absolutely opposed to a Palestinian state–any independent Palestinian state or an entity or a homeland” because ” eventually that would be a state that would be disastrous for the Middle East and for us.” He also said that a “pull-out” of Israeli military units and Jewish settlements from occupied lands “is a terrible line to adopt and we will not cooperate with that.”
Dayan said the U.S. position on settlements continues to be that they are illegal and an obstacle to peace. But, he said, while Israel will not return to its pre-1967 lines with only minor adjustments, that “does not mean the ultimate borders will be the settlements, certainly not.”
He said that “If some settlements were on the other side of the ultimate border” means will be found to “remove them” or adjust to circumstances some other way. However, he said, “It is not a good formula to stop (establishing settlements) for a while “because no one knows when the Geneva conference will be convened or how long peace negotiations will take. “We can assure the Arab states negotiations will not be decided on settlement, “he said.
Dayan then suggested that Israel may be “more selective” in the future on settlements. But he insisted that settlements on the West Bank were not based on Israel’s “rights” but on “feelings” that Jews can live in their “old homeland” that includes Samaria and Judaea. “The final peace agreement should take that into consideration, “he said. He added that Israel is asking the Palestinians on the West Bank to “sit down and tell us how they want to live with us.”
Dayan insisted that “Everything is negotiable but what is not negotiable is a separate (Palestinian) state and no Israelis on the West Bank. This is not a proper basis for living together. “He said, “We want an Israeli military position not to impose ourselves on the Arabs who live there but to protect Israel.”
ELEMENTS OF PEACE PLAN
Asked for his prognostications for 1978, Dayan said “There will be diplomatic progress. “He said “The Arabs won’t start a war” but immediately qualified that by adding, “No one can say for sure about any Arab country that it won’t start a war. I am warning my people to be very careful. “In that connection he referred to the Yom Kippur War.
Dayan declined to discuss details of the “draft” peace settlement he submitted to Carter and Vance yesterday. He said, however, that it contained three main elements: defining the problems, including borders; Israel’s position on how to solve those problems; and Israel’s readiness to “discuss without pre-conditions what the other parties propose.”
Dayan also skirted questions about whether he or other Israeli officials have met with any Arab leaders, indicating they were “not eager” to discuss meetings. Dayan said that at his meeting yesterday with Carter, the President was warm and friendly in his comments about Premier Menachem Begin.
HEAVY SCHEDULE OF MEETINGS
Dayan had a heavy schedule of meetings at the White House yesterday. He spent two-and-a-half hours with Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale during which they were joined by Vance and National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. Dayan conferred separately with Vance and his aides at the State Department before and after his
White House Press Secretary Jody Powell who sat in on part of the Carter-Dayan talks, told newsmen afterwards that the session was “constructive.” But he would not accept the word “progress” to describe the results as indicative of narrowing the gap between Israel and the U.S. “Clearly we have differences on questions of Palestinian representation in the Geneva conference, “Powell said. The statement by Powell noted that “the President reaffirmed the commitment of the U.S. to the security of Israel.” Dayan referred to that sentence during his press conference today.