JERUSALEM (Jul. 12)
Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan cautioned Israelis today not to expect too much from his meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kaamel and U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance in London next week. Briefing the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, he said he expected the Americans to try to revive negotiations for a joint Israeli-Egyptian declaration of principles as a means of skirting a deadlock over the conflicting Israeli and Egyptian peace proposals. He said he opposed such a move.
Dayan made it clear that he thought the prospects for progress in London were slim. He appeared before the Knesset committee to present an up-to-date analysis of the political situation before his departure for London. But most of the session was taken up by a bitter clash between the Foreign Minister and his former Labor Alignment colleagues.
Dayan was also questioned sharply by MKs of the National Religious Party (NRP), a coalition partner. Only yesterday, he engaged in verbal sparring with the Likud Knesset faction, some members of which expressed dissatisfaction with his handling of foreign policy.
WEIGHS IMPLEMENTING SELF-RULE PLAN
At the earlier meeting, Dayan said that if current negotiations with Egypt collapse, Israel should unilaterally implement its self-rule plan for the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He accused the Labor Alignment of retreating from its position of reasonable territorial compromises toward the American view that Israel should return to its 1967 borders with only minor boundary adjustments. That charge brought angry denials from the Labor members of the Knesset committee today.
Most of the MKs agreed that if the London meeting becomes an encounter between the Israeli and Egyptian peace plans, it is certain to fail. Contrary to Dayan, they favored another attempt to reach a joint declaration as the basis for further negotiations. Yehuda Ben Meir, the NRP Whip, warned that failure in London was sure to lead to an imposed American plan. “The declaration of principles is the only way to push the negotiations forward and to test Sadat’s intentions, “he said.
Ben Meir also disagreed with Dayan’s criticism of the Vienna meeting between Labor Alignment leader Shimon Peres and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt over the weekend. “It is not a bad idea that one should find ways to include the opposition in the political negotiations,”he said. Zerach Warhaftig of the NRP asked Dayan: “Why do you pay so much attention to Vienna and push aside what is expected to take place in London?”
Former Premier Yitzhak Rabin said Dayan should not complain to Peres for meeting with Sadat but to Premier Menachem Begin for giving Peres a green light for the meeting. Ironically, Dayan referred Likud critics of Peres’ Vienna meeting to the Premier when that issue was raised yesterday. He took Likud to task for criticizing Begin’s peace plan after voting for it. When Liked criticizes government policy, the government loses credibility with the people, Dayan said.
A number of Likud MKs demanded that the London meeting be cancelled. Dayan said: “We shall go to London and submit our proposals. If they don’t reach an understanding with us, Sadat will return home and we shall return home. But the Israel army will continue to sit in Refidim (Sinai).”