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Israel, Egypt in Bitter Dispute over Implication of U.S. Peace Proposals

Israel and Egypt were involved in a bitter argument today over what is implied by the U.S. peace proposals that both have accepted. According to the semi-official Cairo daily Al Ahram, Egypt has been assured that the U.S. initiative implies a total Israeli withdrawal from all Arab territories it occupied in the June. 1967 war. Israel contends that the U.S. made no such commitment. Political circles here said Cairo was “deluding itself.” They said “the authors of the American initiative have made it clear on many occasions that the Security Council’s resolution does not require Israel to withdraw to the lines of June 4, 1967,” the eve of the Six-Day War. Rather, the Israelis say, the resolution on which the peace initiative is based, requires negotiations to delineate future boundaries.

Circles here said this principle has been given public expression by Assistant Secretary of State Joseph J. Sisco in press interviews. They said that in contacts between Washington and Jerusalem it was plain that this is not a new point but has been a basic aspect of American Mideast policy since 1967 and has been repeatedly stressed. “If unauthorized interpretations are already being spread by Cairo before negotiations have even started, it proves that the parties had better get down to the business of solving practical problems instead of arguing about outside interpretations and formulations,” one diplomatic observer said here today. He said that only Israel and Egypt can make commitments to each other and what has not been agreed upon between the two cannot be taken as a commitment. A1 Ahram and Cairo radio congratulated the U.S. yesterday for the omission of Israel’s basic condition for acceptance of the peace initiative from UN envoy Gunnar Jarring’s letter to Secretary General U Thant. The condition was that Israeli withdrawal and future boundaries were to be determined by the peace treaties. The Egyptian media charged that Israel was trying to stalemate the UN peace efforts.

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