JERUSALEM (Nov. 9)
A possible shift in Israel’s position regarding peace talks with the Arabs was indicated by Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan yesterday when he told the Likud Knesset Faction that Israel was willing to negotiate a temporary agreement with its neighbors if an overall settlement is unattainable at this time. Dayan made the same statement a day earlier at a meeting with the National Religious Party (NRP) Knesset faction. However, he added, “he who does not give full peace will not receive full compensation.”
The Foreign Minister maintained that it was within the power of the United States to exert economic pressure on Egypt to sign a peace treaty with Israel. He also said that Israel never asked for American guarantees of a peace settlement but that the matter was raised by Washington. “We oppose sending American troops–or even civilians–to Israel as part of this guarantee,” he said, “but I would not automatically reject an offer to join NATO if such an offer was made.”
Dayan reiterated that Israel will accept no alternative to the joint U.S.-Israel working paper on Geneva procedures. He specifically rejected a proposal by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat for the creation of an Arab-Israeli working group to lay the groundwork for the Geneva conference. Sadat’s suggestion was rejected by the Cabinet at its meeting Sunday.
Dayan said he expected an official reply from the Arabs on the U.S.-Israel working paper within two week. The PLO has already rejected it but Sadat apparently sought to circumvent the PLO by his new proposal. It was learned, meanwhile, that intensive negotiations have taken place in the Arab world on moves toward reconvening the Geneva conference. PLO chieftain Yasir Arafat met with Sadat in Cairo yesterday and King Hussein of Jordan flew to Damascus for talks with Syria’s President Hafez Assad.
Premier Menachem Begin said yesterday that Israel’s refusal to hand over the West Bank to foreign rule was not a precondition but a negotiating position. Israel did not expect the Arabs to accept Israel’s positions before negotiations begin, he said.