JERUSALEM (Jun. 19)
Labor Alignment leader Shimon Peres revealed last night that President Anwar Sadat of Egypt told him he might countenance minor border changes on the West Bank and the stationing of Israeli troops across the border after peace was reached. Peres made the disclosure after sharply criticizing the Cabinet’s response yesterday to the American questions on the future of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He said that he had Sadat’s agreement, through a third party, to reveal details of their two-hour talk in Salzburg, Austria, last February.
Peres said that Sadat recognizes Israel’s genuine security problems on the West Bank and also recognizes the distinction between the international border between Israel and Sinai which is a universally accepted line and the uncertain legal status with respect to the West Bank borders and sovereign rights. Sadat expressed readiness for minor changes in the 1967 lines on the West Bank and for the maintenance of Israeli strongholds across whatever borders are finally agreed to in a peace settlement, Peres said. He said Sadat sought a joint declaration of principles that would facilitate Jordan’s entry into the peace negotiations.
Peres’ apparent purpose in making his disclosure was to bolster his argument that Israel’s acceptance of the principle of territorial compromise on the West Bank would open the way to the resumption of peace talks with Egypt. He is also seeking to refute Premier Menachem Begin’s contention that there is no distinction between Israel’s security needs and its claim to retain the West Bank.