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Kissinger; U.S. Israel Must Reach Understanding on Autonomy

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Forme Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said here last night that Israel and the U.S. must reach an understanding on the meaning of autonomy on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Lacking such an understanding, the negotiations over autonomy will be even more difficult than they need be, he warned.

Kissinger, who was given an honorary degree by the Hebrew University this afternoon, addressed a dinner at the Knesset. He said that once an overall agreement was reached between Israel and the U.S., both parties could live with tactical disagreements. “I am not saying this because I have a precise idea (on the meaning of autonomy and self-government). I say it only because if there is no precise idea, the process of negotiations may become more difficult than is otherwise necessary,” he said.

Kissinger stated that he was amazed by the changes that have taken place in the region since he conducted his famous “shuttle diplomacy” that led to the disengagement agreements between Israel and Egypt and Israel and Syria in 1975. “Even more important than the terms of what has been achieved is this growing confidence that has developed between at least one Arab nation and the State of Israel,” Kissinger said.

He said the fact that the Egyptian-Israeli peace process occurred is “testimony to a great Arab leader (President Anwar Sadat) who willingly overcome the preconceptions of a generation but also, and in a deeper sense, to the courage of a great people (the Israelis) which had to make perhaps even more complicated choices.” Kissinger observed that “History will pay tribute to a people who for 4000 years had little reason to trust its neighbors but which was ready to exchange its tangible security for intangible benefits of peace, was ready to trade physical possessions for hope.”

The former Secretary of State warned, how ever, that peace must be well-founded. “No people knows better than the Jews that peace must be related to justice,” he said. “Peace in itself becomes the blackmail of the powerful and the tool of the ruthless. Worthwhile peace depends on limits and on readiness to accept the legitimacy of the other party.” He said that was the reason he never believed that a group that resorted to terror could be a partner to peace negotiations, a reference to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Kissinger met with Premier Menachem Begin this morning and visited Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan at Tel Hashomer Hospital where Dayan is recovering from recent surgery. Dayan, who had a malignant tumor removed on June 25, is expected to be discharged from the hospital tomorrow. Kissinger said he planned to visit him again at his home Thursday. Following his meeting with Begin, Kissinger said he was now able to answer any question regarding the autonomy talks placed to him in his forthcoming visit to Amman and Riyadh.

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