LONDON (Jul. 9)
The details of the Soviet initiative for the Middle East–described as a “settlement by stages” and a correct reflection of “where the USSR really stands”–were disclosed here today in the July 11 issue of the official Embassy publication, “Soviet Weekly.” The Embassy called the plan basically the USSR’s “initial stand,” which may be modified by “new ideas” developed from negotiations and consultations. The Soviet plan comprises the following points: 1) a “settlement by stages”; 2) Arab and Israeli willingness to abide by the Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 resolution; 3) rejection by all concerned parties of wartime territorial gains; 4) Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Arab areas, conditional on a guarantee of recognized frontiers by the Security Council or the Big Four, and an end to the state of war; 5) the establishment of demilitarized border zones; 6) temporary restrictions on military activity; 7) the stationing of UN troops in Gaza and Sharm El-Shelkh, by decision of the Security Council and with the approval of Egypt; 8) Israeli compliance with UN decisions on the Palestinian refugees; 9) freedom of navigation for all nations through the Straits of Tiran, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Suez Canal.
“Soviet Weekly” said the plan was placed on the agenda of the Big Four talks last January. “That’s the Soviet plan,” the publication stated, “clear to the point–and without anything secret about it…Of course, negotiations and coordination of positions is a continuous process in the course of which new ideas are bound to arise. But discussions in the Four Power negotiations have not in any way changed the initial stand of the Soviet Union. A clear understanding of the principles governing legality and justice as applied to the situation in the Middle East is the chief demand which any solution must satisfy.” (In Jerusalem, political circles appeared to reject the Soviet plan immediately. Sources said the proposal “confirmed Israel’s fears of Soviet intransigence,” omitting mention of peace while insisting on Israeli withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 boundaries–in short, a return to the pre-Six-Day War status quo without provision for Israeli security. Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Gideon Rafael rejected Moscow’s proposals as a “smokescreen” designed to conceal from the world the construction of Soviet rocket launching sites and activities of Soviet pilots in Egypt. Mr. Rafael said the Soviet plan “does not serve peace but constitutes a threat to the existence and independence of Israel. The plan aims at securing Soviet control over the Middle East.” Gahal Leader and Cabinet Minister Menahem Begin said the Soviet plan “is designed to liquidate Israel by stages.” Political circles in Jerusalem pointed out that the Soviet plan in its details is even more unfavorable for Israel than the 1967 UN Security Council resolution which the Soviet Union purports to uphold.