Sinai Peacekeeping ForceIsrael is expected to accept, eventually, the participation of Britain, France, Italy and Holland in the Sinai peacekeeping force. But for the present, it is in no hurry to respond to the letters received from the four powers last week reiterating their offer.

The letters were not discussed at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting although it had been expected that they would be. Officials said they “could wait” until next week. They noted that the Europeans had taken five weeks to draft their letters and promised that Israel would not wait that long to reply.

The correspondence developed because the four European countries, after agreeing to participate in the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) last November, issued statements linking this to the 1980 Venice declaration by the European Economic Community (EEC) ministers. Israel had rejected the declaration because, among other things, it called for association of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Mideast peace process.

Israel insisted that the European powers conform to on Israeli-U.S. joint statement of December 3, 1981 affirming the Camp David agreements as the sale basis for the MFO. The letters received here last week by Foreign Ministry Director General David Kimche were clearly an effort to mollify Israel on this. While the European powers do not explicitly endorse the December statement, their letters imply acceptance of its key principle, that the MFO’s functions are strictly as determined and defined in the relevant Israeli-Egyptian agreements.

Although Premier Menachem Begin might seek further “clarifications” from the Europeans, observers here are confident that Israel will agree to their participation in the MFO, but in its own good time.