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White House, State Department Pressuring Israel to Accept U.S. Peace Proposal

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The White House and the State Department are putting pressure on Israel, both here and in Jerusalem, to accept the American peace proposal for the Middle East, sources here said this weekend. Officials are telling Israel not to fear an Egyptian military buildup during a three-month cease-fire, as a military freeze along the Suez Canal is built into the plan devised by Secretary of State William P. Rogers and accepted last Thursday by Egypt. Joseph J. Sisco. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, reportedly has made that point personally to Israeli officials here. Administration officials are telling the Israelis that Egypt and the Soviet Union have been advised that military-freeze conditions apply, by implication, under a temporary cease-fire even though the Rogers proposal did not mention it. The administration’s ace is expected to be threats of delays in the approval of jet-purchase requests. Western sources believe the administration will consider as an Israeli acceptance of its proposal anything short of outright rejection.

The most immediate aim, in conjunction with a temporary cease-fire. is the reactivation of the peace mediation efforts of United Nations envoy Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring. Any Egyptian or Israeli qualms about aspects of the U.S. Initiative, the administration feels, can be negotiated under Dr. Jarring’s auspices during the three-month fighting pause. American officials are saying their optimism over Egypt’s acceptance of the U.S. plan has not been dulled by his description of it as “nothing new” beyond the Security Council resolution and his insistence on three conditions–Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories, the “safeguarding of the Palestinian peoples’ rights” and an end to U.S. military assistance to Israel. The American officials say President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s detailing of his position in private has led them to retain their optimism for a peace settlement. Some sources say Col. Nasser’s acceptance of the U.S. plan was designed and timed to put all the pressure for implementation of the plan on Israel. If Israel rejected the proposal. Cairo could claim Israel sabotaged the peace effort.

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