TEL AVIV (Jan. 16)
Defense Minister Ezer Weizman has been authorized to propose territorial changes in Sinai to the Egyptian when the joint military committee reconvenes Thursday in Cairo, it was learned from reliable sources here today. The changes, which would amount to an exchange of land between Israel and Egypt, could solve the problem of Israeli settlements and airfields in Sinai, now the outstanding issue between the two countries, the sources said.
It was learned that the agreement to resume the military talks this week was at Israel’s insistence. The military committee adjourned last Friday without setting a date for its next sessions. When the weekend deadlock over the political committee agenda was resolved yesterday, it was announced that the military committee would reconvene next Monday, Jan. 23.
Israel took the position that the military talks should proceed independently of the political committee talks which open tomorrow in Jerusalem. After telephone conversations between Jerusalem and Cairo, the Egyptians agreed to advance the date to Thursday. Israeli settlements in Sinai is the chief topic on the agenda and will be confined to the military committee although it might be taken up by the political committee at a later date.
Meanwhile, it was announced that Deputy Defense Minister Mordechai Zippori will serve as Israel’s liaison between the two committees. He has been named Defense Ministry representative at the political committee talks and will also serve as Weizman’s deputy on the military committee.
According to reports from Cairo, the Egyptians want to keep the military talks at a low key and away from the limelight of publicity. They are opposed to more Israeli journalists coming there to cover the sessions and want to reduce the number of Israeli media people already in Cairo. The Israeli team of technicians in Cairo will also be reduced since the major headquarters work is being done in Jerusalem.