Premier Yitzhak Rabin declared in the Knesset today that the Rabat summit had strengthened Israel’s resolve not to negotiate with the PLO. To those who urged such negotiations, he replied that there could be no basis for talks with terrorist organizations which deny our existence, “and use terrorist methods to further their purposes.” The Knesset meeting and the three-hour debate following Rabin’s presentation, took place two days before the scheduled arrival here of Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.
For Israel to talk with the PLO would give “legitimization” to both its methods and its aim, he said. The UN resolution inviting the PLO to address the General Assembly was “a grave travesty” but it will remain meaningless so long as Israel itself rejected it. “Israel will not recognize those who plot against its very existence,” Rabin declared. Rabin reiterated Israel’s determination to negotiate a West Bank settlement with Jordan, and added that he would watch Jordan closely to see whether it would surrender to the terrorists’ dictates.
Israel will also watch Egypt in the aftermath of Rabat to see if President Anwar Sadat accepts the ban which other Arab states seek to impose on further Israel-Egyptian negotiations, Rabin said. Although Kissinger is due here Thursday and is in Cairo this evening, Rabin did not mention him, except for a passing reference to his efforts on behalf of Soviet Jewry.
The Premier reiterated Israel’s determination to conclude “a political,” rather than merely a military pact, as a second stage settlement with Egypt. The pact must be a “stage of purposeful progress toward peace,” Rabin said.
DE FACTO NON-BELLIGERENCY ACCORD POSSIBLE
He envisaged the pact providing for a state of non-belligerency that would last for years rather than months, free the area of periodic tension each time the UN Security Council had to renew the UNEF mandate, and would contain political and economic aspects and include a mutual undertaking between the parties.
“If we agree with Egypt on the content, we will have no difficulty agreeing on the nomenclature of the pact,” Rabin said, seeming to confirm the reports that Israel would in fact agree to a de facto non-belligerency agreement. Rabin indicated that a partial agreement with Egypt must leave the Israeli army in control of a considerable area of Sinai in advance of final peace.
Turning to Jordan, Rabin recalled the Cabinet resolution of June 21, affirming the need for two, not three states between Jordan and the sea. He reiterated his promise to call new elections before any territorial compromise on the West Bank is concluded. Addressing Syria, Rabin said: “We want peace with all our neighbors….We have no reason to seek delay in peace negotiations. I am convinced that negotiations without preconditions could bring about changes in Israel-Syrian relocations.”
Rabin warned Arab leaders that neither threats of violence nor acts of violence, nor full scale war, could solve political problems. It was a fallacy, he said, to believe that the Palestine covenant of the PLO could be achieved by terror or war.
ISRAEL’S MILITARY STRENGTHENED
He reported at length on Israel’s military strengthening since the Yom Kippur War: there are more divisions in the army; the call-up procedure had been streamlined; new manpower reserves are being tapped and more soldiers are joining the professional army; lessons of the war are being learned and implemented; work on fortification and maintenance of army vehicles is proceeding at an accelerated pace; and a great military acquisitions program is under way.
“This is a war policy. Where is your peace policy? Rakah Communist MK Meir Wilner shouted. Rabin replied that hope for peace lay in a strong Israel.
Referring to the “Emunim” illegal settlement movement, the Premier asserted his government’s determination to bar unauthorized settlements and called on would-be settlers to live in the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights and the Raffah salient in accordance with the government’s priorities.
Reading out the Rabat resolutions on the Palestinians, Rabin said that Israel did not yet know what the “fourth resolution–which called for a future. Egyptian-Syrian-Jordanian-PLO cooperation–would mean in practice. It could imply closer military coordination, which would be “very serious,” he said. Rabin added that there had been no hint at Rabat for “readiness for peace nor was anything said of social progress for the Arabs themselves. The policy of Khartoum and Rabat will not triumph–we can and will prevent it.”
The Knesset debate that followed Rabin’s statement was opened by Likud MK, Dr. Elimelech Rimalt. He said that the Rabat conference should prompt the government to adopt a new policy “because reality has changed.” He said Rabat was a failure of American foreign policy, and the end of certain Israeli expectations. He called on Rabin once again to form a national unity government.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.