UNITED NATIONS (Sep. 30)
Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban proposed today a five-point peace program highlighted by a call for direct, prompt negotiations between himself and his Egyptian counterpart Mahmoud Riad. Eban said the meeting could be held here this month while the General Assembly is in session and could deal with either an interim Suez Canal agreement to be discussed under United States auspices, or a permanent peace based on Security Council Resolution 242 under the auspices of the United Nations intermediary. Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring of Sweden. Eban’s proposal, made in an address to the Assembly today, was titled “Five Roads to Peace”–a deliberate allusion to the talks held on the island of Rhodes in 1949.
In his other four points, Eban urged work toward a canal agreement, a resumption of the Jarring mission, a settlement of the refugee problem and a determination of the “principles of peace.” In calling for an Eban-Riad meeting, the Israeli Foreign Minister declared: “Let us break out of devious procedures and sterile polemics into a new vision and a new hope.” The effort, he said, “will not be served by war or by threats of renewed hostilities which command our vigilance but are, in effect, an echo of ill-fated bombast in the recent past.” Nor, he continued, will the cause of peace “be fulfilled by living out the rest of 1971 in ineffective debate or inflammatory resolution.”
Eban referred to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s threat that there will be a renewal of full-scale shooting in the Middle East if Israel does not agree by year’s end to withdraw from all of the occupied Arab territories. “In a recent statement.” Eban said, “President Sadat declared that he would sacrifice a million men to achieve a military victory. What he and we should be considering is how to ensure the 33 million Egyptians, the three million Israelis and the other millions in the Middle East be saved from sacrifice and preserved for the construction of a peaceful regional order.” Eban noted that “there is no weight or value in the argument that the Arab governments would be negotiating from weakness if they accepted direct contact,” explaining: “Their point of reference would be not the military situation, but the political forum in which the Arab side would speak from a position of numerical and geographical predominance.”
CANAL PACT FIRST ROAD TO PEACE
The “first road” to peace, Eban contended, lies in a canal pact, as “disengagement (t)here is an urgent international interest.” He added that “When agreement on a final (canal) boundary is reached in the framework of the peace settlement Israeli forces will withdraw to it.” Calling the Jarring mission a “road to meaningful peace.” Eban charged that it has been stalled because Egypt has declined to accept the dictate of the Security Council resolution–that, in Eban’s paraphrase, “the withdrawal and boundary clauses of the peace agreement, like all its other provisions, must be determined through agreement, which, of course, implies negotiation.” Thus, Eban declared, “if Egypt will present its position for negotiations without the unprecedented request for Israel’s acceptance in advance we shall be ready for detailed and concrete negotiation…”
Regarding Egypt, he said Israel had “never asserted that in a condition of peace it would be necessary for our troops to remain in all of Sinai or even in most of it.” However, he said, there were “vital interests affecting security, peace and navigation which impel us to reserve the right to attempt in the peace negotiations to secure a contractual basis for a continued presence in order to safeguard security and navigation.” On the question of the refugees, Eban reiterated his long-unaccepted proposal for an international conference “to chart a five-year plan for the solution of the refugee problem and the integration of refugees into productive life.”
Last year, Eban said, 110,000 Arabs came into Israel across the open Jordan bridges. An open frontier between Israel and its eastern neighbor, similar to the community frontiers in Europe, would do much to give human reality to a peace settlement, and would help the settlement to be achieved, he stated. On his fourth point, Eban proposed for the third time “that it might be profitable to attempt to draft some of the clauses of the Egyptian-Israel treaty relating to the principles of peace.” He explained that “On closer inspection the disparities are substantial, and could become crucial.” He did not elaborate on this point.
Samuel De Palma, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency after Eban’s speech that the Israeli had been “his usual eloquent, persuasive self.” While the Rhodes-type formula might not be immediately accepted by Egypt, he added, it might well be in time. Egyptian Ambassador Mohammed H. el-Zayyat declined to comment on Eban’s remarks until he read the text. He had not listened to the speech, he said, because “I was busy doing something else.