JEUSALEM (Aug. 8)
Concern in government circles that the United States was seeking a change in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 as a way to woo the Palestine Liberation Organization to the peace negotiating table was eased somewhat today by a message from an American Congressman that the U.S. would veto a pending Kuwaiti-sponsored draft resolution on Palestinian rights now pending in the Security Council.
Sen. Richard Stone (D. Fla.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Middle East, was quoted here as saying that U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance had told him at a breakfast meeting yesterday that the U.S. would adhere to its promise not to deal with the PLO until it recognized Resolution 242 and recognized Israel’s right to live peacefully within secure borders.
Stone also said that Vance assured him the U.S. would veto the Security Council resolution on Palestinian rights as it now stands because it would alter 242 by calling for granting Palestinian self-determination and the right to an independent state. (In Washington, the State Department declined today to comment on what Vance said to Stone.)
CONTRAST WITH DAYAN’S VIEW
Stone’s statement, issued in Washington, contrasted strongly with the gloomy view presented earlier in the day by Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan who said in interviews with the press that the American stance towards Israel was “not just an erosion, but a fundamental change in polices.” The U.S., he said, was concerned and preoccupied with oil supplies and prices and sought to reach an accord with Saudi Arabia.
The Saudis, Dayan said, had made the sale of oil and the level of oil prices conditional on American recognition of Palestinian rights and the PLO. The Saudis, for their part, Dayan added, are seeking to placate the PLO because they fear a PLO-inspired revolution against their government. (In Washington, Vance today denied Dayan’s claim. See separate story.)
Dayan, in his press interviews, had also warned that Israel’s view abroad that it is “dying economically” has led foreign statesmen to believe they could pressure Israel for new concessions. He blamed primarily the government coalition and ministers responsible for the economy for this state of affairs.
Meanwhile, Dayan’s sensational press interviews in which he hit out at the government’s economic policy, has exacerbated tensions within the Likud. One effect it seems to have had is to increase the widespread feeling within the factions comprising the Likud bloc that radical changes in the composition of the Cabinet are needed, urgently.
According to some reports today, Premier Menachem Begin was both shocked and upset by the Dayan interviews, and he intends to raise the matter at next Sunday’s Cabinet meeting if he is well enough to resume his post by then. There has been no indication at all that Begin may ask Dayan to resign — as certain Likud members have urged.
In another development, the government announced today that Robert Strauss, President Carter’s special Mideast envoy, informed Begin that he intends to visit Israel Aug. 19, earlier than originally planned for talks with the Premier and Cabinet ministers. Officials did not say why Strauss was coming earlier but observers said it was apparently connected with the strain in U.S. -Israel relations. Strauss did not attend the fifth round of autonomy talks which ended yesterday in Haifa James Leonard, the U.S. representative to the talks did attend, but kept a low profile.