Eban Does Not Anticipate American or Soviet Initiative to Solve Arab Israel Deadlock

Foreign Minister Abba Eban was reported today to have told the Cabinet that, despite widespread press reports of Arab peace feelers, Israel was not anticipating any Soviet or United States initiatives, separately or jointly, to solve the Arab-Israel deadlock.

Among such reports was one to the effect that President Nasser of Egypt had sent emissaries to Western countries with a proposal that Egypt would agree to unimpeded Israeli use of the Strait of Tiran if Israel would withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula. The Strait has been under Israeli control since Israeli forces seized Sharm El Sheikh, at the southern tip of the Peninsula in the second day of the June war. The position dominates the Strait.

It was indicated that Israel’s view is that the United States can use its influence in Israel, as events connected with the June crisis and war indicated but that the Soviets cannot or will not persuade the Arabs to give up their intransigent opposition to realistic peace negotiations and that the Soviets also will not abandon their support of the Arabs in that intransigence. Israel has indicated that its ships must be assured free passage of the Suez Canal by Egypt as part of a general peace settlement before any evacuation can be considered.

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