An article in yesterday's Washington Post said incorrectly that then U.N. Secretary General U Thant withdrew U.N. truce supervisers (UNTS) from the Sinai just before the 1967 war broke out. Thant actually withdrew a U.N. Emergency Force (UNEF), although questions were raised about his legal right to do so. The present UNEF in the Sinai was Created separately in 1974. CAPTION: (NEW-LINE)Picture, Egyptian Defense Minister Kamal Hassan Ali is kissed by a Tel Aviv resident after arriving in Israel., UPI
Israel's Cabinet today gave Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan firm instructions not to depart from the present Israeli position on the makeup of a Sinai peacekeeping force when he goes to Washington this week for talks.
Dayan was designated to represent Israel in talks with Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance and an Egyptian delegation on the U.S.-Soviet agreement to replace a multinational U.S. peacekeeping force with a smaller U.N. observer force.
Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Yehuda Blum, said Dayan has received detailed instructions to adhere to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Under the Israeli interpretation, the treaty requires a multinational force in the Sinai in place of the 4,000-man U.N. Emergency Force (UNEF) whose mandate expired last Tuesday.
Blum said Dayan had been instructed by the Cabinet to meet with Vance "for the purpose of ensuring that all provisions of the treaty are carried out fully, including creation of the multinational force."
The emergency force, which has acted as a buffer between Egypt and Israel since 1973, already has begun dismantling its facilities and is scheduled to begin withdrawing its troops on Wednesday. The Soviet Union, which opposed the treaty had objected to th use of UNEF to help implement it. In a compromise, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to install a smaller force of the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).
The emergency force is under the jurisdiction of the Security Council and has a U.N. mandate. As a result, any attempt to remove it from the Sinai, had the mandate been extended, would have been subject to a veto. The truce supervision group, on the other hand, has no specific mandate and comes under the authority of the secretary general, Kurt Waldheim, and could be withdrawn any time.
Blum listed a number of practical and philosophical objections to the truce supervision group. But it was clear that Israel's opposition to the unarmed treaty-policing body mainly is based on a remembrance of the withdrawal of U.N. peacekeeping [WORD ILLEGIBLE] forces immediately before the 1967 Six-Day War.
"Israel has had an unpleasant experience with a previous U.N. force," Blum said, referring to then Secretary General U. Thant's May, 1967, decision to pull UNTSO out of the Sinai at the request of then Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser. The withdrawal set the stage for the outbreak of war.
Blum also said Israel would have preferred that the United States help force the Soviet Union to show its hand with a veto of the UNEF extension. In the Israeli view, a Soviet veto would have paved the way for the creation of a multinational peacekeeping force in the Sinai.
Referring to President Carter's letter to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin - which is appended to the treaty, and which commits the United States to establishing a multinational Sinai force if the U.N. Security Council failed to extend UNEF, Blum said:
"It clearly follows that the proper procedure would have been for the Security Council to decide on the extension or non-extension of UNEF."
Conceding that in all likelihood the Soviet Union would have cast a veto, Blum added, "But the U.N.should have gone through the motions to expose the Soviets' attempt at subversion of the peace treaty. If the Soviets had cast the veto, then we could have proceeded to the contingency plan," the multinational force.
Blum argued that the truce supervision group assignment "constitutes a clear departure" from the treaty, which repeatedly refers to the stationing of U.N. "forces" in the Sinai prior to completion of Israeli withdrawal and the positioning of U.N. "observers" after it.
Moreover, Blum said, the supervision group will be "totally inadequate" to fulfill basic peacekeeping functions in the Sinai, including desert patrols, verification of reported violations and assuring freedom of navigation in the Tiral Straits and the gulf of Aquaba. He noted that U.N. Secretary General Waldheim had indicated that the present 130-member UNTSO contingent could be beefed up to 400 men, but said even that number would be an inadequate substitute to the 4,000 emergency force troops there now.
Israel's strong reaction to the U.S.-Soviet compromise also has been viewed by some diplomatic observers as an attempt to head off any attempt by the United States to open discussions with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Presumably, making concessions to the U.S. position on the truce supervision force would make it more difficult for the White House to come back immediately with a revised posture on the PLO.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Defense Minister Kamel Hassan Ali arrived in Israel yesterday for three days of talks with Defense Minister Ezer Weizman on who will replace the departing U.N. troops in the Sinai.