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Israel Formally Rejects Egyptian Proposal for Temporary Cease-fire in Suez Canal Zone

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Israel today formally rejected an Egyptian offer to restore the ceasefire temporarily in the Suez Canal zone if Israel would agree immediately to carry out the provisions of the United Nations Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 resolution which calls for its withdrawal from the occupied territories. The offer was made by President Gamal Abdel Nasser in a filmed television interview broadcast in the United States last Sunday and subsequently repeated by a spokesman in Cairo. The Egyptian leader said he would accept a cease-fire of six months or less and would promise to keep Arab terrorists from using the evacuated territories as bases for attacks on Israel. In a statement issued here today, the Foreign Ministry noted that the cease-fire resolutions of June. 1967 which ended the Six-Day War were not valid for a limited period and were unconditional, providing only for their strictest mutual observance. “However, in 1969, the Egyptian government abrogated its…undertaking and replaced the cease-fire with what it calls a war of attrition’ which is still in progress today,” the Ministry statement said.

It declared further that “There is no connection whatsoever between the Security Council’s cease-fire resolution and its resolution of Nov. 1967 regarding the conclusion of peace. This is borne out,” the Ministry said, “by the fact that the November resolution nowhere refers to the cease-fire decision. The existence and the unconditional functioning of the cease-fire is being considered as an established fact, and as the basis for any progress in peace-making efforts.” “Israel’s position is well known,” the Foreign Ministry said. “She stands by her obligation to observe the cease-fire, under the obvious condition that the Arab states will strictly maintain their cease-fire obligations and will refrain from any belligerent activity against Israel.” The Nasser offer was dismissed as propaganda intended for foreign ears when it was first broadcast on the National Educational Television network in New York Sunday. Israelis noted that on the same day. Col. Nasser pledged to Egyptian factory workers at Shabinel-Qawn that “We are determined to go to war against Israel.”

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