JERUSALEM (Oct. 6)
Speculation mounted today over the contents of the U.S. -Israel agreement, announced in New York yesterday, on procedures for reconvening the Geneva conference. Officials remained fight-lipped and it was apparent that the government is in no hurry to respond before the attitude of the Arab states is known.
The agreement was reached in a seven-hour meeting Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan had with President Carter and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance in New York Tuesday and Wednesday. Dayan said he would urge his government to approve the proposals which he described as a working paper. But the Cabinet will take up the matter only next Tuesday when it meets in special session for the purpose.
Premier Menachem Begin who is scheduled to be discharged from the hospital Sunday, will attend the session as will Dayan who flies home Monday immediately after addressing the UN General Assembly.
ELEMENTS OF THE ACCORD
Meanwhile, reports from the United States indicated that the main Israeli concession that facilitated the agreement was to hold negotiations at Geneva with groups of Arab delegations containing more than one Arab state. As an example, according to the reports in the press, negotiations on the West Bank issue would be conducted by Israel and an Arab team that would include Jordan and possibly Egypt and Palestinians whose precise identify is not defined.
The refugee issue also would be discussed with more than one Arab state and Palestinian delegates. In return, the U.S. will not press for specific PLO participation at the peace conference, according to the press reports.
If these reports are correct, the agreement represents a substantial departure from Israel’s original concession which was to meet with a pan-Arab delegation, including non-PLO Palestinians, only for the ceremonial opening session at Geneva and, thereafter, to negotiate separately with each Arab state. The fact that the reports were not denied by officials here in a position to know the contents of the agreement was regarded as significant in some circles.
Well placed sources declined to comment on a report here that Begin was unhappy with parts of the agreement worked out by Dayan with Carter and Vance and has asked for further “clarification.” The same sources confirmed press reports from the United States that Dayan rejected approaches from Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko for an “informal” meeting at the UN. According to these reports, the Israeli delegation said it would respond positively to a formal invitation from the Russians.
ACCORD IS ONLY A ‘WORKING PAPER’
In a television interview broadcast to Israel last night, Dayan stressed that the U.S.-Israeli document was only a “working paper.” “It is a beginning, not an end, “he said, adding that if there are any remarks or amendments after Vance takes it up with the Arabs, “we will have to get back to it again.” Dayan said he thought it was “theoretically possible” to reconvene the Geneva conference in December.
(Addressing a United Jewish Appeal leadership meeting in New York last night, Dayan emphasized that the agreement reached with the U.S. was “only procedural,” a “working paper” for reaching Geneva that avoided substantive negotiations. Dayan said he also made it very clear to President Carter that “We shall not touch a Palestinian state, “because any agreement that spoke in such terms, would be “the seeds we would be planting for our future destruction.”
(“A Palestinian state is not the answer, ” Dayan declared. “This is not acceptable,” I told Carter. He explained that Israel must keep military installations in the West Bank for security purposes, and that he felt accommodation with Arabs already living there is possible. “It will be difficult,” Dayan said, “but we must make a choice.” Turning to the American Jewry on the eve of his four-city tour for the UJA, Dayan said: “You in the American Jewish community are the link. . . so understand us and stay with us.” UJA general chairman Leonard R. Strelitz replied that “the days ahead will require a new testing . . . a new resolve to stand fast, in the face of adversity and pressure.”)