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Israel Cabinet Weighs Effect of Johnson Decision on Situation in Mideast

April 9, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The possible effects on the Israel-Arab situation of President Johnson’s decision not to seek re-election and of a detente in the Vietnam war were debated by the Cabinet at a lengthy session here last night. No details were disclosed. But a Government spokesman said that the items under discussion included King Hussein’s visit to Cairo this week, last week’s Security Council debate which ended without any action being taken and the scheduled arrival here over the week-end of the U.N. special envoy, Dr. Gunnar Jarring, for further conversations.

It is understood that the Cabinet also discussed the apparent interest of the United States in the continued existence of King Hussein’s regime and the results of Security Council deliberations which last month brought about a censure of Israel for its military operations against terrorist bases on Jordan and a stale mate last week. According to informed source, the Security Council’s action proved the thesis of those who favor air strikes against terrorist installations and artillery positions instead of sending troops across the cease-fire demarcation line. On the other hand, a detente in Vietnam with a possible cessation of American bombings, might have implications against the air strike strategy.

In connection with the Jarring mission, it is understood that the Cabinet considered the passing of pressure being brought to bear on Israel to use Jarring’s good offices in pass substantive proposals back and forth across the border should the Arabs fail to relent in their refusal of direct talks with Israel. This possibility was reportedly debated by Foreign Minister Eban with members of the Gahal faction (Herut-Liberal alignment) and several others. The latter are believed to have taken the stand that it was preferable to retain the existing geographical frontiers, even if it meant seeking peace through a mediator. The security situation was also discussed by the Chief of Staff, Gen. Chairs Bar-Lev.

Prime Minister Eshkol reported briefly to the Cabinet on last week’s world economic conference which was attended by nearly 500 businessmen and economists from abroad and a like number of Israeli business leaders. According to Mr. Eshkol, the conference succeeded beyond expeditions. However, he said, it was too early to report its concrete results and their meaning for Israel’s economic development. Those questions are being analyzed by economists here. Finance Minister Sapir and Minister of Trade and Industry Sharef will report to the Cabinet as soon as the results are known.

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