The Israeli government today released the previously secret U.S.-Israeli working paper on Middle East peace talks amid public reports that the document had been hammered out in "brutal" talks with President Carter.
The substance of the document was largely known. But its public disclosure by Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan reflected both the growing strain in U.S.-Israeli relations as well as intensive internal pressures on the Begin government on the extremely sensitive issue of participation at Geneva.
Details of Dayan's private meeting with Carter were splashed all over the front pages of the Israeli press today quoting Dayan as saying that Carter had threatened Israel with "total isolation" if an agreement could not be reached. Parliamentary sources confirmed later that Dayan had described his talks with the Americans as "difficult and at times brutal."
[In Washington, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance said he could not describe the talks as "extremely rough" and "would not agree" with Dayan's reported description of them as having been "brutal." Story Page A15.]
Dayan revealed the full text of the working paper during parliamentary debate here only two days after the government of Prime Minister Menachem Begin approved the document and announced its decision to keep the details secret.
Dayan's decision to go public followed a series of leaks from a supposedly secret briefing Dayan gave to the Parliament's foreign and security committees yesterday, including a description of his discussions with Carter and Vance.
As embarrassing as the revelations of the private Carter-Dayan talks may have been, Dayan's decision to give the full details of the proposal appear to have been based more on domestic political considerations and what he considers to have been deliberate distortions leaked to the Israeli press. That so many details had already been leaked in the United States may have been another factor.
It is not clear here whether Washington was advised in advance that Dayan would announce the details of the working paper or, if in doing so, he violated any understanding with Washington.
The details of the working paper contained little that had not already been published as speculation, but Dayan seemed especially angry that some members of the foreign and security committee had deliberately distorted the details, at least in his opinion.
The working paper in its entirety says:
The Arab parties will be represented by a unified Arab delegation which will include Palestinian Arabs. After the opening session, the conference will split into working groups.
The working groups for the negotiations and conclusion of peace treaties will be formed as follows: a) Egypt-Israel, b) Jordan-Israel, c) Syria-Israel, d) Lebanon-Israel. (All the parties agree that Lebanon may join the conference when it so requests).
The West Bank and Gaza issues will be discussed in a working group to consist of Israel, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Arabs.
The solution of the problem of the Arab refugees and of the Jewish refugees will be discussed in accordance with terms to be agreed upon.
The agreed basis for the negotiations at the Geneva peace conference on the Middle East are U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.
All the initial terms of reference of the Geneva peace conference remain in force, except as may be agreed by the parties."
The original draft of the working paper that the United States proposed to Israel a month ago, diplomatic sources said, contained several points that were all subsequently deleted, largely at Israeli insistence.
These included the question of a Palestinian "entity," the mention fo the Palestine Liberation Organization, the proposal that the opening format of a unified Arab delegation and the Israeli delegation would remain in effect throughout the conference, and language calling for the West Bank and Gaza issues to be "negotiated." The word was replaced by "discussed."
Dayan pointed out to the "Parliament that allowing a united Arab delegation, including Palestinians, to open a Geneva conference did not mean that Israel was prepared to negotiate substantive matters of peace with a united Arab delegation.
Peace talks would be held with separate sovereign nations, he said, and the Palestinians would not participate as a separate delegation.
Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, provided they did not say they were representing the PLO, would participate in discussions on how to solve problems such as refugees and how Jews and Arabs could live together, along with the Jordanian and Egypt delegations. But these would not be peace negotiations because peace could only be made with sovereign countries and Israel would not allow a Palestinian state, he said.
In short, Palestinians would be allowed with Jordan and Egypt to discuss problems on the West Bank and Jordan within the "framework" of a peace treaty but that Israel would not negotiate on the question of a Palestinian entity on the West Bank or in Gaza.
Defending his policy, Dayan asked Parliament if Israel wanted to "talk about any kind of settlement in the framework of peace as regard to Judea and Samaria and the Gaza without talking to the Arabs who live there? I don't. I confess I want to talk to them, too. There are a million and a quarter people there."
Dayan said that the first working paper had called for low level PLO representatives to participate but that Israel had refused to agree to any PLO participation.
The press accounts of the Carter-Dayan talks quoted Dayan as saying that he nearly "jumped out of my skin" when Carter accused Israel of not having done enough for peace. "I was not too refined in my reply to the President," Dayan was quoted as saying. He reportedly gave Carter a lecture on everything Israel had done for peace going back to the 1948 period.
Dayan reportedly told Carter that on the fundamental issues of no return to 1967 borders, no talks with the PLO and no Palestinian state, Israel would rather risk complete isolation and a break with the United States rather than give in.
Although leaks from the supposedly secret sessions of the foreign security committee are not unusual, old Knesset hands said nothin like the intimate details of an Israeli leader's talks with an American president had ever been made so available to the press before.
Government officials were grim and white faced with fury at the leaks.
Opposition leader Shimon Peres argued in the Knesset that although the working paper might "bring us to Geneva, it is very doubtful that it will bring us closer to peace." Peres said that once you agree to talks to any Palestinian delegation in any form you are basically agreeing to talks to Yasser Arafat and the PLO.
Israeli television tonight said that Defense Secretary Ezer Weizman had cancelled a scheduled meeting with U.S. Ambassador Lewis because of violation of the ceasefire agreement in southern Lebanon. It said that Lewis had expressed confidence that the situation would soon be brought under control but that shellfire to night could be heard across the border.