Egypt’s Peace Plan Not Seen As Obstacle to London Conference
Menu JTA Search

Egypt’s Peace Plan Not Seen As Obstacle to London Conference

Download PDF for this date

Israel received Egypt’s peace plan for the West Bank and Gaza Strip today. While the initial reaction of officials here was that the Egyptian terms are extremely hard, consensus was that the plan contains no pre-conditions that would prevent Israel from participating in the proposed foreign ministers conference in London later this month.

The Egyptian plan was presented by U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis and U.S. Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs David Aaron to Premier Menachem Begin and Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan. Aaron accompanied Vice President Walter Mondale on his visits last weekend to Jerusalem and Alexandria.

Begin told reporters after being presented with the Egyptian plan that Israel had always advocated negotiations without pre-conditions. His remark was taken as a hint that the Cabinet will authorize Dayan to go to London for a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kaamel and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance when it convenes for its regular weekly session Sunday.

The Egyptian plan was due to be announced officially in Cairo this evening. According to the Cairo press, it proposes the return of the West Bank to Jordan and the Gaza Strip to Egypt for a five-year interim period during which security issue would be negotiated between Israel and the two Arab states. At the end of the interim period, the Palestinians would exercise their “right to self-determination.”

The plan differs sharply from that proposed by Israel which would grant local self-rule to the West Bank and Gaza Strip while retaining Israeli military control of those territories. After a five-year interim, Israel says it would be willing to review its relations with the parties but will make no commitment to withdraw, even partially, from the territories.(See Washington story P. 3.)


Dayan, meanwhile, expressed opposition today to Shimon Peres’ projected meeting in Vienna Sunday with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. He told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee that the government alone, not the leader of the opposition, should handle contacts with Cairo. Peres retorted that the meeting was being held under the auspices of the Socialist International and noted that Begin had raised no objections. Dayan said he differed with Begin on that.

According to Maariv, Sadat will meet with several world Jewish leaders in Vienna, including Dr. Nahum Goldmann. The paper also speculated that Sadat would meet President Carter in Salzburg later next week, a rumor that has been denied in Washington. Carter will be in Europe next week to attend the Western economic summit conference in Bonn and Sadat will spend several days in Salzburg following the Socialist International meeting in Vienna.

(Sadat said on a BBC television interview in Alexandria, broadcast in London last night, that he would consider reviving the Geneva conference if the next round of Egyptian-Israeli talks failed to achieve progress. He said that, in addition to Geneva, there might be other ways to further his peace initiative but did not elaborate.

(Sadat said he had no grudge against Begin and observed that if Begin is not ready to make any concessions now, he might be ready in a month or two. Sadat said the U.S. had not applied all the pressure it could on Israel during the past few months but stressed that he was not seeking pressure but “the establishment of permanent peace.”)

(Sadat is scheduled to arrive in Vienna Friday. Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky told reporters yesterday that he invited Sadat and Peres, chairman of Israel’s Labor Alignment, in an effort to continue the Israeli-Egyptian negotiating process at an informal level. Former Chancellor Willy Brandt of West Germany, currently head of the Socialist International, is expected to join in the Middle East discussions in Vienna Sunday.)

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund