JERUSALEM (May. 16)
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned from reliable sources today that Israel was prepared to dismantle its Bar-Lev line fortifications on the east bank of the Suez Canal and build a new line further in the Sinai interior as its contribution to an interim settlement to reopen the canal. The sources said that this hinged on the willingness of the United States to finance the construction of a new line which would run into hundreds of millions of dollars. According to the sources, Washington has indicated a willingness to consider the proposal. The present Bar-Lev line, a system of in depth fortifications beginning near the canal’s east bank, would be blown up. There were no indications where Israel proposed to build the new line. If the U.S. underwrites the scheme, it would, in effect, give Israel the right to retain part of the Sinai peninsula under an interim agreement pending a final peace settlement with secure and agreed borders, the sources said. In helping Israel implement an interim solution, the U.S. would be doing nothing more “reprehensible” from the Arab point of view than she did when she supplied Israel with Phantom jets before there was any such agreement, the source stated.