In yesterday's newspaper, Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem was incorrectly identified as being the Dome of the Rock.
Prime Minister Menahem Begin, who has vowed never to give up the West Bank of the Jordan River, is expected to outline for President Carter Friday significant Israeli concessions including a degree of Arab autonomy never comtemplated before, authoritative Israeli sources disclosed today.
The Israeli leader was said also to be comtemplating extensive military withdrawals from the Israeli-occupied Sinai peninsula.
But his proposals on the West Bank will not go so far as to envision the creation of a Palestinian state or even any adjustments that could be considered a first step on the road to Palestinian Arab statehood. One of the key provisions is the continued Israeli security control of the area.
Although the Arabs were likely to dismiss Begin's ideas as taken concessions, they are substantial in Israeli's domestic political context, especially against the background of Begin's publicly stated positions on the historic Judea and Samaria regions of biblical times.
Officially inspired leaks appearing in the Israeli press today about Begin's Washington journey seem to suggest that the government is preparing Israeli public opinion for a shift in policy.
In what sounded like a description of an opening bargaining position, these accounts suggest that the following conditions would have to be met in a more autonomous West Bank:
The area would have to remain free of any non-Israeli miliary forces.
Israel would continue to maintain security forces in the area.
There would have to be no legal restrictions on further settlement of the area by Jews.
In return, the Israelis say they might be willing to abolish the current military administration of the West Bank and to replace it with a West Bank cantonal or even a central civilian administration.
The newspaper Haaretz quoted Israeli Cabinet members as suggesting that "a certain kind of link between the West Bank and to replace it with West Bank cantonal or even a central civilian administration.
The newspaper Haaretz quoted Israeli Cabinet members as suggesting that "a certain kind of link between the West Bank and the Jordanian kigdom should be guaranteed."
Israeli sources stressed that this is not yet a definite plan, just an outline of the kinds of ideas around which Israel would be willing to negotiate in Cairo.
Before advancing these propositions at the Cairo conference, Begin is believed to be seeking Carter's backing. The Israeli leader was expected to outline in private just how far he was prepared to slide toward a compromise with the Arabs as he seeks justifications for his positions.
Begin also may seek another meeting with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt within the next few weeks in an effort to set joint guidelines for the Cairo conference. Israeli officials suggested that the meeting could take place in the Sinai where both Israel and Egypt keep military forces separated by a U.N. buffer zone.
The West Bank question goes to the heart of any Arab-Israeli settlement.
One idea the Israelis entertain is that there is no reason that either Jordan or Israel should have sovereignty over the area inhabilited by 70,000 Palestinians, because its sovereignty has never been internationally recognized since the end of the British Mandate rule over Palestine in 1948.
This approach would apparently be a way of handling the problem that majority opinion on the West bank definitely seems to oppose a return to Jordanian rule.
King Hussein of Jordan is reviled among the followers of the Palestine Liberation Organization as the man who crushed the guerrilla organization when it tried to take over his kingdom in 1970.
Jordan has continued to pay the salaries of Palestinian civil servants on the West Bank and more local local autonomy could involve face-shaving Israeli gestures toward Jordan.
Another gesture could involve letting the Jordanian flag fly in the Arab Old City of Jerusalem over Al Aqsa, the Dome of the Rock, the third holiest site for the Islamic religion. It is considered more likely, however, that Israel will eventually concede the right to fly the flag of Saudi Arabia.
That country enjoys a special status in the Arab world because its King holds the title of Protector of the Holy Places. Mecca and Medina, the two holiest sites, are Saudi cities.
The Israelis have been toying with the idea of creating a kind of Arab Vatican on the Temple Mount, the place where Al Aqsa stands. That would represent no problem for Jews since Talmudic law prohibits them from walking on the Temple Mount because that would involve the risk that a Jew might step on the now-unknown spot where the Ark containing the Holy Scriptures of the Temple of Solomon was located.
Suggested new arrangements on the West Bank have been labeled in Israeli diplomatic jargon as a "functional division" of the territory Israel wrested from Jordanian control in the Six Day War of 1967.
All accounts indicated that Israel seems ready to acknowledge Egyptian sovereignty over the entire Sinai Peninsula, but may demand defense footholds in several sensitive areas. Sharm el Sheikh, the strategic point that controls the entrance to the Red Sea, may be established as a joint Egyptian-Israeli military post.