Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Rabin: Ready for Overall Settlement Talks with Each Neighbor: No Decision on Interim Talks with Syri

September 11, 1975
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

In an attempt to stem the growing tide of speculation here and abroad over future possible interim talks between Israel and Syria, Premier Yitzhak Rabin published a brief statement today which he had made earlier to the Cabinet asserting that Israel was ready to talk peace with all of its neighbors, and that there was no Cabinet decision “on the question of interim talks with Syria.”

The carefully worded statement gave rise to yet more speculation. Observers noted that it did not say there was a Cabinet decision not to hold interim talks with Syria, but merely that there was no Cabinet decision on the subject, Highly placed sources, however, firmly insisted that there seemed to be little or no hope of an interim accord with Syria because of geographical strategic considerations on the Golan Heights. The “piece of land for piece of peace” thesis which formed the basis of the Sinai accord did not necessarily apply on the Golan, these sources said.


By stressing Israel’s readiness to talk overall peace with each of its neighbors, Rabin’s statement put the accent on overall talks rather than on interim talks in the future. The Premier is known to feel that there ought to be no more interim accords with Egypt. The next step in Sinai, he believes, should be peace, or at least non-belligerency in its broads sense. His view on this is not shared by Defense Minister Shimon Peres who told an interviewer last weekend he still expects a further interim accord in Sinai since peace was too far off for a one-step leap.

But Rabin, Peres and other ministers seem united in opposing interim accords on the eastern or the northern fronts. Rabin has, on occasion, intimated that Israel would entertain a “cosmetic” pullback on the Golan, more as a gesture than as a meaningful change. But he is not prepared to pull back extensively, or to remove existing settlements as part of an interim accord, and mainly for this reason he favors an overall negotiation.


Rabin’s uncompromising statements regarding the Golan are believed intended to achieve three aims as a well-placed source explained today:

* To reiterate, primarily to the U.S., that Israel really won’t have much to offer when and if the time does come to consider a Golan interim accord.

* To impress the Americans and the Syrians with the fact that a Golan accord is not in any way linked automatically to the Sinai accord.

* To defer for the coming months any active consideration of a Golan accord option. Israel wants to see first how the Sinai accord is implemented, and how Syria and other parties, including the Soviet Union, react to it.


At the Cabinet meeting held today because the regular meeting day, Sunday, was Rosh Hashanah, Foreign Minister Yigal-Allon reviewed the reaction in the Arab world to the Sinai accord. He said the Arabs were split, with the hard-liners led by Syria and the PLO violently attacking the accord and President Anwar Sadat for signing it. Egypt has found steadfast support only from Saudi Arabia and Sudan, with some other countries expressing half-hearted approval.

Examining the reaction in the U.S., Allon said he hoped Congress would approve the American presence in Sinai without too much trouble. But top sources here are concerned over Congressional and public opinion reaction in America to Israel’s aid package, which will be, it now seems, $2.3 billion.

This tops the total U.S. foreign aid bill for the year, Israeli sources noted with some trepidation. They stressed that the great bulk of the aid is for the purchase of arms and there is no effective increase in economic aid–“supportive assistance”–which will remain at around $350 million.

Recommended from JTA