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Cease-fire Talks Remain Deadlocked; Increased Alerts on Egyptian, Syrian Fronts

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The cease-fire talks today remained deadlocked on the issue of disengagement as Israeli forces maintained an increased alert on the Egyptian and Syrian fronts and the possibility grew that serious fighting would break out anew. Today’s meeting at the 101 kilometer checkpoint between the Israeli chief negotiator Gen, Aharon Yariv and Egyptian Gen.,Mohammed Gemassi was postponed until tomorrow at Egypt’s request. Yariv reported to the Cabinet today. The two officers met for 80 minutes yesterday, one of their shortest meetings. A UN spokesman said afterwards that “Both sides have shown a constructive approach and sincere attitude in trying to find common ground.”

But Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan, in two separate speeches over the week end, said that little or nothing has been accomplished in the cease-fire talks and warned that the failure to reach a compromise with Egypt augured ill for the general peace conference that appears to be shaping up in Geneva next month. The Geneva conference, if it takes place; will find the two sides locked in confrontation positions, he said. He warned that the resumption of fighting was by no means to be ruled out, The Arabs are “tough, stubborn and ambitious this time as never before. They feel strong militarily-with their replaced equipment-politically with their oil threats and cutbacks and their achievements in winning world sympathy away from Israel,” Dayan said in addresses to a Joint. Israel Appeal mission from Britain yesterday and the Israel Bar Association in Tel Aviv Friday.

According to Dayan, Israel has made strenuous efforts to reach a compromise with Egypt but so far has failed to negotiate a breakthrough. Egypt apparently is demanding a major pullback of Israeli forces from the west and east banks of the Suez Canal to the Mitlah and Hiddi passes in mid-Sinai which would put the canal out of range of Israeli artillery. It war learned that the latest Israeli proposal is for Egypt to withdraw its heavy armament from the east bank of the canal, replacing it with a lightly armed policing force. Israel would agree to Egypt sending technicians and management personnel to the east bank for the purpose of clearing the Suez Canal and restoring it to operation. Israel for its part would withdraw from the west bank and allow lightly armed Egyptian policing forces into the area it now controls.

In his speeches over the weekend, Dayan took a very hard line on Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab territories, defended Premier Golda Meir as one of “the best leaders” Israel has and said he was not contemplating resignation. He also assailed what he called inexpert and ill-informed media writers who drew unfavorable comparisons between the Israeli Army’s achievements in the Yom Kippur War and what it accomplished in the Six-Day War of 1967. Dayan cautioned Israel against accepting something called peace which would in fact undermine Israel’s security. He said he did not believe the Arabs have changed their aims or motivations in the short weeks since they launched their war and what they failed to achieve by military means they now seek to achieve through a peace conference.

We have no control over the launching of war by the Arabs or their assassination of our prisoners, but it does depend on us whether the rush to Geneva will produce a conference of retreat or capitulation,” Dayan said. The fate and future of the Jewish State hangs in the balance, he noted. “We must not agree to the shrunken and twisted pre-1967 lines if we do not want to see this country doomed,” Dayan warned. He said Israel must decide now what it will not give up under any circumstances whether under pressure or in return for guarantees. “Why do the Americans talks of offering us guarantees?” Dayan asked. “Because they know as well as we do that the borders they contemplate will not be defensible,” he said.

Dayan praised U.S. military aid which he said was plentiful and very much appreciated. But he expressed apprehension over the differences with Washington on political issues and urged Israel to stand firm for its basic interests. He said that in his personal view, Israel must under all circumstances retain the Golan Heights, military control of the Jordan River, Sharm el-Sheikh and the radar network on the Nablus (West Bank) hills. He said that Israel has the military strength to stand fast on its essential security requirements. “It is the spirit of the nation that will determine how we go to Geneva,” he said.

He conceded that Israel could not ignore the Arab oil pressures and the consequent U.S. efforts to come to terms with the Arab world. “I hope the key to U.S. peace ideas is not to force Israeli withdrawals,” he said, “Israel must not be the victim of Japan’s or any other nation’s need for oil. For Israel the question of withdrawal and boundaries is one of life or death,” Dayan said.

According to Dayan, Israel’s military victories in the Yom Kippur War were on a much larger scale than in the Six-Day War. He said that in 1967, Egypt lost 750 of 1000 tanks and 180 out of 750 planes. In the Yom Kippur War it lost 1000 of 2850 tanks and 240 out of 680 planes. Syria’s losses in 1967 were 100 out of 450 tanks and 45 out of 95 planes. This time, the Syrians lost 1100 of 2700 tanks and 200 of 410 planes, Dayan said. But he warned that both Egypt and Syria were returning to full strength thanks to the resupply by the Soviet Union and “other” nations which he did not name. Nevertheless, he said, the Israeli forces were strong enough to maintain their present positions and defeat all of the Arab states combined if another war broke out.

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