President Carter and former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir exchanged "differences of opinion" yesterday on the President's Middle East peace proposals and his support for a Palestinian homeland.
But Meir said she hopes the disagreements do not mean that severe strains between the United States and Israel are unavoidable.
"We had differences of opinion with the government before this one and with the government before that and before that . . ." the 79-year-old Meir said after the one-hour meeting.
However, she said she doubts Israel ever will accept an agreement that would create a Palestinian homeland. "I have resigned from my government, but I have not resigned from my people," she said.
At an impromptu news conference in the White House driveway, she told reporters that she and Carter had "some differences of opinion." But she declined to give details.
She cautioned against concluding that the differences were over whether to resume Middle East peace talks at Geneva. She said her concern included the possibility of causing a greater crisis in the Middle East by going to Geneva ill-prepared than by not going at all.
"The way we go to Geneva will decide how we go out of Geneva," Meir declared. One way to leave would be for the parties to walk out, she said, and nobody wants that.