NEW YORK (Dec. 13)
General Moshe Dayan, Israel’s Defense Minister, praised President Nixon last night for having “kept every word” to Israel since taking office and declared that Israel wants to return to the Jarring talks but “without prior conditions.” He refuted the view that if Israel returns the territories occupied in the Six-Day War there will be peace and emphasized that while the Security Council Resolution 242 is the framework for negotiations “it is not a bible for us.” In his address to more than 2000 persons attending the United Jewish Appeal dinner at the New York Hilton, Dayan emphasized that Israel’s security and its future as the homeland of the Jewish people rests, in the last analysis, on its own tenacity and strength. In a subdued delivery that was interrupted by frequent applause, he hammered away at this basic theme. The Defense Minister said that during his meetings on Friday with top administration officials “I didn’t ask for anything and nothing was promised me.” Gen. Dayan, who arrived in the United States on Wednesday for the primary purpose of raising funds for the UJA, met with Pres. Nixon, Secretary of State William P. Rogers and Defense Secretary Melvin Laird to discuss “defense matters.”
Dayan’s reference last night to the Washington meeting was a strongly guarded statement edged with ambiguity. “I was glad to come to Washington and make contact with the leaders of the administration.” he said, “and I’m very glad to go home to Israel.” He observed that in Washington, “Israel is part of their foreign policy, and when I go to Washington it is part of our foreign policy.” He did not say whether he discussed his controversial plan for the reduction of military forces on both sides of the Suez Canal as a step toward peace. Discussing Israel’s quest for peace, Dayan noted that Israel participated in the Jarring talks “wholeheartedly” and that “we will want to participate.” But, he declared, “We do not want to participate unless this negotiation is free and equal. We do not want to negotiate under the dictates of the Egyptians.” Dayan asserted that Israel has its own ideas about the final boundaries and that these are not the same as those the Arabs have in mind. “We shall negotiate without prior conditions,” he said and noted that neither Israel nor Egypt should impose demands on each other before sitting down to negotiate.
TERMS SIMPLISTIC THE IDEA THAT TERRITORIAL CONCESSIONS WILL BRING PEACE
Without referring to Mr. Rogers’ 1969 plan which called for certain territorial revisions on the part of Israel, Dayan said it was simplistic to view territorial concessions as the key to peace. He observed that prior to the Six-Day War, Israel did not have the territories it is now being counselled to relinquish. “Why, then, did we have war?” he asked. Because, he stated, the late Egyptian President Nasser “thought we were weak enough to be destroyed. Now we do not want to be weak. We want to maintain our power.” Before sitting down to negotiate “we want to know a little more about our future.” Dayan observed that despite good will and diplomatic efforts on the part of the U.S., Israel is realistic enough to realize that its future can be assured only by its own power. He derided King Hussein’s suggestion that if Israel evacuated the West Bank peace would be possible. He noted that King Hussein is in no position to guarantee peace between Jordan and Israel in view of his inability to maintain peace within its own kingdom. Nor, added Dayan, can Israel rely on the Security Council or the General Assembly to help establish peace in view of the preponderant role of the Arab-Soviet bloc in both.
The Defense Minister recalled that President Johnson “wanted very much to assure the freedom of navigation when Nasser closed the waterway to Eilat” but was unable to do so. The waterway remained closed “until our soldiers opened it,” he said. The statement was greeted by tumultuous applause. “There are certain things we just have to do for ourselves.” Only once during his address did Dayan rebuke the U.S. and emphasized that this was an unpleasant task. He pointed out that two months ago, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad revealed he had received assurances from the U.S. that it would not provide arms to Israel unless she returned to the peace talks. At the same time, however, Dayan noted that the Soviet Union continued to provide Egypt with military hardware. “We want to have military supplies so we can be in a position to say no if we have to say no” to the Egyptians. “Otherwise, it is not negotiations.” Concluding his address, he praised the Soviet Jews for “raising their voice.” This, he noted, “has a high moral value. There are no speeches to match that.” Dayan asserted that the struggle for Israel’s survival is based primarily on a partnership between the Jews of the United States and Israel and called for a firm and lasting unity between the two segments of world Jewry.