Beigin: No Peace Talks Prior to Withdrawal of Missiles; Rejects Rogers’ Plan

Menachem Beigin, billed as the “leader of the loyal opposition in Israel,” warned, in remarks prepared for delivery here tonight at the Zionist Organization of America’s annual dinner that Israel must not return to the Jarring peace talks without the withdrawal of Soviet missiles from the Suez Canal zone. He also warned that a return to the pre-June, 1967 borders would put most Israeli cities and towns within range of terrorist rockets. Beigin, who led underground warfare against the British prior to the establishment of the Israeli State in 1948, is a leader of Gahal, Israel’s second largest political faction. Gahal quit the coalition government last summer in protest against its acceptance of the American peace initiative. Speaking to newsmen at his hotel several hours before the ZOA dinner, Mr. Beigin said “We oppose the Jarring talks on the basis of the Rogers initiative. Those talks are not peace negotiations with the Arab countries. The talks envisage almost complete withdrawal of Israeli forces. We suggest direct negotiations for a peace treaty between the parties concerned.” The remarks Beigin prepared for his American audience tonight were more temperate than his recent Knesset denunciations of the Jarring talks and his demand that Israel annex all of the Arab territories it occupied in the June, 1967 Six-Day War.

He implied that the Jarring talks, which he has described as a “trap” in speeches at home, were acceptable provided they were not predicated on the territorial plan proposed by Secretary of State Rogers in Dec. 1969, envisaging a return to the pre-1967 borders with only minor territorial adjustments. He indicated, in his prepared remarks, that he thought the outcome of the Jarring talks was doubtful because Egypt and Russia have already turned “a clear undertaking (the cease-fire) into a scrap of paper torn to shreds.” He said an Israeli return to the Jarring talks without a missile withdrawal would constitute a serious politico-military achievement for the Moscow-Cairo axis. Beign said that any plan that envisaged an Israeli withdrawal to the demarcation lines of June 4, 1967, the eve of the Six-Day War. “would result in putting almost all of our cities and towns in the range of Fatah rockets.” “Who in the world,” he demanded, “has the right to ask Israel to put her national security, indeed, the lives of her men, women and children, in such jeopardy.” Beigin claimed that by continuing to occupy the east bank of the Suez Canal, Israel “renders real services to the free world.” The continued closure of the Canal prolongs by 16 days the voyages of Soviet ammunition ships from Baltic or Black Sea ports to North Vietnam, he said. Israel, said Beigin. “is a faithful ally of the free world; she deserves reciprocity from the free world.”

He criticized the Security Council’s Resolution 242, claiming that its preamble, emphasizing “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war,” contradicts international law. He said the formula applied only to “aggressive” wars such as the Arab war launched against Israel on May 15, 1948, but not to defensive wars in which category he placed the Six-Day War. Beigin said Israel “recognizes all the rights of the Arab people” but not “their claim to the ‘right’ to deprive us of our country and independence.” He said Israelis want peace and believe it will come. However, he added, “Blinding oneself to the fact that the Arabs want to create, or re-create, a situation in which they could hurt Israel and try to destroy her will not bring peace, but appeasement.” Herman L. Weisman, the ZOA president, said there was no doubt that President Nixon was sincere in his desire to get the Jarring talks re-started. “What is lacking is sincere expression and conduct by Egypt and Jordan to negotiate without pre-conditions,” he said. Weisman cited Egypt’s demand for an advance time-table for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories. “Under these conditions, pressure on Israel to return to the peace talks is ill-advised and contrary to American interests, and encourages the Soviet policy of continued penetration in the Middle East,” he said.

NEXT STORY