TEL AVIV (Sep. 24)
Gen. Itzhak Rabin, Israel chief of staff, said here that until an enduring peace was achieved with the Arab states, it would be inadvisable for Israel to retreat from its “present frontiers” in Jordan, Syria, and the Sinai Peninsula.
He spoke at a special memorial meeting for Gen. Itzhak Sadeh, first commander of the Palmach. the elite underground force under the British mandate, on the 16th anniversary of his death. Gen. Rabin, who was a Palmach commander, said that taking “all difficulties into account, it is still less difficult to defend Israel now” than before the occupation of the Arab areas. He cited among the difficulties, the killing of four Israeli soldiers near Suez last week and sabotage activities in Israel.
The position that Israel must continue to hold the occupied territories until peace agreements are reached was also stressed last night by former Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres, a close associate of former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and a leader of the Rafi Party.
Mr. Peres asserted that there is “a good chance” that Israel will remain in the Sinai Peninsula “longer than it took Moses to cross the Sinai Desert.” No Egyptian-Israeli border line will be fixed, he asserted, “as long as there is no border between war and peace — until we get peace. But it is still a long way to peace.”
Mr. Peres advocated the establishment in the west bank area of an autonomous region for the local Arabs, but that also, he maintained, could be done only after the conclusion of peace. However, he added, Israel’s border in that region must lie on the Jordan River.