LAUSANNE (Aug. 29)
A firm declaration that no Egyptian Government will sign a peace with Israel as long as the two countries have a common frontier was made here today by the head of the Egyptian delegation, Mohammed Abdel Moneim.
The Egyptian representative made this statement prior to the presentation of the formal Arab reply to the questionnaire of the U.N. Conciliation Commission in which all delegations were asked to specify their territorial demands. The Arab reply was couched in general terms and far more extreme than recent discussions would seem to have warranted. The Arabs requested that the frontiers be fixed within the 1947 partition decision of the United Nations, but reserved for themselves the right to make further claims for reasons of security. No specific areas were mentioned.
The head of the Egyptian delegation said that whether or not Israel retains Western Galilee, Egypt would insist on the establishment of a buffer state which would provide a security zone for her in southern Palestine. Egypt would also insist that the entire area south of Isdud to the Gulf of Akaba be turned over to Arab authority, he said. The Cairo government could not yet say what that authority should be though Egyptians would prefer it to be an independent Arab state in Palestine.
Abdel Moneim added that he could not see how the United States or any other power could force Israel to make this concession against her will but that Israel, in that case, should realize that Egypt will have neither commercial nor diplomatic relations with the Tel Aviv government.
Eliahu Sassoon, acting head of the Israel delegation and expert on Arab affairs, said that he was confident, despite the Egyptian statement, that a solution would be found to Israel’s relations with the Cairo regime. Mr. Sassoon said he doubted, however, whether much could be done before the Egyptian elections this fall which, he added, will provide Egypt with elected representatives and a stable government.
The questionnaire had also asked the Arab states to indicate the number of Palestine Arab refugees they would be willing to settle in their own countries providing there was adequate financial support from the international community. The Arab reply was couched in general terms and gave no figures on refugees, adding that the number will be stated only after Israel will have raised her own figure.