JERUSALEM (Jun. 25)
The Cabinet today rejected “without any reservation” a reported new Egyptian plan that would transfer the West Bank to Jordon and the Gaza Strip to Egypt “for an interim period of five years “after which the permanent status of those territories would be determined. A communique issued after today’s Cabinet session terms the plan “a precondition” for negotiations. It noted that Israel has called for the resumption of negotiations with Egypt with no preconditions.
The Cabinet reacted even though there was no official announcement of an Egyptian plan in Cairo. However, the fact that the proposal was published in the semiofficial daily Al Ahram indicated that it had originated with President Anwar Sadat. The proposal in fact had been suggested by Sadat on previous occasions and was known here. The Cabinet reportedly did not deal with the criticism expressed by several ministers of Defense Minister Ezer Weizman’s outspoken differences with the government over its response last Sunday to the American questions about the future status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
(It was reported from Washington meanwhile that Secretary of State Cyrus Vance has proposed a meeting between Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kaamel to take place in London next month in an attempt to revive the stalled peace talks. In the meantime, Vice President Walter Mondale reportedly will stop over in Egypt For a meeting with Sadat after his visit to Israel June 29- July 2.)
EGYPTIAN PROPOSAL WAS ‘PRE-CONDITIONAL’
Cabinet Secretary Arye Naor told reporters later that the Egyptian position was “that Israel turn over Judaea and Samaria to Jordan and Gaza to Egypt as a precondition for negotiations over what he (Sadat) calls security problems of Israel” and therefore the Cabinet “unreservedly rejected it “by consensus, meaning there was no vote taken. He explained that “this meant if Israel did not accept the return of these areas in advance, there would be no negotiations on the ‘security problems’ and to this Israel could not agree.”
Naor reiterated that Israel is ready to “conduct negotiations without preconditions over the establishment of peace and the institution of administrative autonomy in Judaea, Samaria and Gaza as part of the peace treaties over which free negotiations should be conducted between the parties. ” He insisted that Israel’s autonomy proposal was not a precondition because Israel was prepared to negotiate over any counterproposal put forward by the Arab side.