LONDON (Jan. 29)
The Middle East peace talks could break down in the next few weeks if left in the hands of legal experts from Israel, Egypt and the United States, Abba Eban warned here.
Although the former Foreign Minister still believed peace would be achieved, he expressed anxiety at the inability to clear up the final differences, even though they were only minor compared with those already surmounted since Egyptian President Anwar Sadat went to Jerusalem. “This is not a question for jurists to decide,” he told a Joint Israel Appeal dinner Saturday night.
Calling an all three countries to make a new effort, Eban said the United States should withdraw its memorandum creating on “inadmissible link” between an Egyptian-Israeli settlement and arrangements for the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Egypt and the U.S. should show more understanding for Israel’s “obsession” with security Israel, he added, should appreciate Egypt’s Arab responsibilities “since all men of Arab speech are a single community,” and President Sadat could not “resign from the Arab and Moslem family.”
Against the background of violence in Teheran, the leaders of Israel, Egypt and the U.S. resembled Daniel’s three colleagues in the lion’s den, Eban said. Instead of asking how they got into the mess, they should be asking how to get out of it.
If the talks failed, there would be a revival of “violent, rancorous Arab solidarity,” and Israel would also come under intense international ###cism. Inside Israel the effects would be harder is analyze, he said. But even if a treaty was signed, a “great crisis” could not long be postponed over the future of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, on which Israel and Egypt had “a common signature but not a common policy,” Eban said.