Prior to Rabin’s visit to Washington, President Carter is already focused on negotiating a comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Carter, contrary to the Israeli view, wants to include the PLO or other Palestinian leadership in negotiations to make the West Bank a geographic center for a Palestinian entity or state. Rabin is not prepared to negotiate either with the PLO or about Jerusalem. Carter tells Rabin that Israel will have to withdraw almost to the 1967 borders and informs Rabin that if Israel does not attend an international Middle East conference, it will be a blow to the US-Israeli relationship. The visit goes poorly, among the worst any Israeli leader has with a US president to date. When Menachem Begin wins Israel’s election in May, his subsequent negative views of Carter are incubated by the pressure Carter exerts on Rabin at the March meeting.
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