JERUSALEM (Aug. 7)
There were indications today here that Egypt made “significant changes” in its proposals for a second-stage interim agreement. This has led to increased optimism about the chances for a settlement and the speculation that Premier Yitzhak Rabin may cancel his scheduled trip to Austria because Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger is expected to be renewing his shuttle diplomacy around Aug. 20.
The increased optimism came after the ministerial negotiating team–Rabin, Foreign Minister Yigal Allon and Defense Minister Shimon Peres–met today to examine the Egyptian proposals. An official said that “significant changes” had been noted in the Egyptian reply to Israel’s latest proposals.
The Israeli response is expected to be given tonight or tomorrow to Kissinger by Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz in Washington. However, Maariv’s political correspondent, Yosef Hariff, said that the Israeli answer may not come until next week and that Israel would ask for additional clarification before it agrees that Kissinger should resume his “shuttle” between Cairo and Jerusalem. Hariff explained that while the Egyptian response has increased optimism both in Jerusalem and Washington, Israel feels some “basic” clarifications are still needed.
The full Cabinet is expected to discuss the Egyptian proposal Sunday, but sources said it would not be required to take any new decisions since the negotiating team will only be seeking clarifications.