JERUSALEM (May. 24)
Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan termed recent Egyptian replies to Israeli-posed questions “unsatisfactory.” Answering a Knesset political motion by Labor Party leader Shimon Peres, Dayan revealed that Egyptian “replies” had been conveyed to him last Friday by U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis. Dayan hinted that other Egyptian positions had been rejected by the Americans themselves as unsatisfactory. He did not elaborate.
Meanwhile, however, it was reliably learned today that the U.S. is expecting the Israeli Cabinet to take up the two key American questions to Israel, posed to Premier Menachem Begin and Dayan in Washington earlier this month. The U.S. believes positive Israeli answers are vital for a resumption of the peace talks. Failing such responses, it now is apparent, the U.S. will step in with a peace plan of its own.
The two American questions relate to the future of the West Bank after the five years of self-rule under the Begin plan. They seek to ascertain Israel’s stand on the eventual solution of the sovereignty issue (left suspended under Begin’s plan) and to determine also how Israel proposes to give the local inhabitants the opportunity “to participate in the determination of their own future” (to cite President Cartes’s Aswan formula).
The second question stems from Israel’s flat rejection of the U.S. “limited-option referendum” idea, which would have offered West Bankers the chance to chose linkage with Jordan after the five years are up. Observers here expect the Cabinet to begin discussions on these issues at its session Sunday, though a final position may not be formulated for a week or two.