Diplomats in Beirut Asserted Reported Israeli Demands Would Block Political Solution

Diplomatic analysts in Beirut hold little hope for a political solution of the Middle East crisis in view of the reported Israeli proposals as to its future boundaries, the Washington Post reported from the Lebanese capital today. The proposals, part of the platform that the Israeli Labor Party was expected to adopt at its convention in Tel Aviv, called for permanent retention of the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip as well as a section of the Sinai peninsula and would establish the Jordan River as Israel’s eastern “security frontier.”

“Optimists seeking a diplomatic end to Arab-Israeli conflicts were left with little but the hope that the Labor Party platform statement might be more of an election year stand than a final declaration of minimum conditions acceptable to Israel,” the Post said. It reported that editorialists in Damascus, Cairo and Beirut had already branded the Israeli proposals “expansionist.” The paper said diplomats in the Lebanese capital believe that in order to achieve a negotiated settlement with the Arabs, Israel would have to return Sinai to Egypt and the Golan plain to Syria, though Israel might retain the heights. The Gaza Strip and the Sharm el-Sheikh strong point commanding the Gulf of Aqaba would have to be turned over to some international body and some kind of international control over East Jerusalem would have to be devised, according to the Post report.

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