WASHINGTON (Mar. 27)
The peace treaty signed by Israel and Egypt at the White House yesterday rests on six basic elements: Israel’s withdrawal from Sinai; security arrangements between the two countries; the establishment of normal relations between them; right of passage of Israeli ships through the Suez Canal and the ships of both nations through each other’s territorial waters; Israel’s right to buy Sinai oil; and negotiations on Palestinian self-rule.
The English version of the massive document was released by the State Department two hours after it was signed by Premier Menachem Begin of Israel and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, and President Carter, as witness, on behalf of the United States. The treaty itself contains nine articles. There are four maps, agreed minutes to four articles, two annexes and six accompanying letters.
One of the knottiest issues, Israel’s access to Sinai oil, was finally resolved in Washington on the eve of the signing ceremonies. The timetable according to which the various provisions of the treaty will be implemented is geared to Israel’s phased withdrawal from Sinai.
WITHDRAWAL PROCESS FROM SINAI
Israel will evacuate its military forces and civilians from the Sinai peninsula in a phased withdrawal over a three-year period. Two-thirds of the peninsula will be turned over to Egypt within nine months of the exchange of “instruments of ratification” between the two countries. This is a formal process required to put the entire treaty into effect. The exchange procedure is expected to take about two weeks to complete.
When this is done, Israel will commence its withdrawal under the timetable. After nine months its forces will be deployed on a line extending from El Arish on the Mediterranean to Ras Mohammed on the Red Sec. Within the first two months Israel will evacuate El Arish itself and within the first seven months it will pull out of the oil fields in western Sinai and off-shore in the Golf of Suez.
One month after the instruments of ratification are exchanged, negotiations are to begin between Israel and Egypt for implementing the Camp David framework that provides for self-rule for Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The site of these negotiations has not yet been selected.
After Israel has completed the first (nine-month) phase of withdrawal, the two countries will establish “normal” relations. Egypt is to terminate its economic boycott of Israel and discriminatory economic practices. Israel will be permitted to buy Egyptian oil on the same terms as any other customer and negotiations will begin on a trade agreement.
OTHER ELEMENTS IN THE TREATY
Cultural relations will be established and negotiations for a cultural exchange agreement will commence within six months after the nine-month withdrawal phase is completed Free movement of the nationals of both countries will be permitted without discrimination. Six months after the initial withdrawal, negotiations will begin for civil aviation agreements. Roads and railroads will be opened between the two countries, postal, telephone, telex and other communications will be established and access to the ports of each country will be provided for the ships of both.
Formal diplomatic relations will be established after the nine-month withdrawal phase and resident ambassadors will be exchanged between Israel and Egypt one month later, or ten months after the exchange of ratification instruments.
As Israeli forces are withdrawn from Sinai United Nations forces will be invited into new zones. There will be limited forces, de-militarized and buffer zones. In a letter attached to the treaty, the United States has pledged that if the UN Security Council refuses to participate in policing these zones, it will undertake to assemble an alternative multi-national force for the purpose.
Israel will give up its air base at Refidim during the nine-month withdrawal phase. It will relinquish its air bases at Eitam and Etzion during the final withdrawal those to be completed three years after ratification of the treaty. In that period, it will also withdraw from the towns and settlements in the Rafah salient in accordance with Article of the treaty.
One of the most serious obstacles that blocked the treaty signing for weeks and prompted President Carter’s personal mission to Israel and Egypt earlier this month was the question of the point at which ambassadors would be exchanged. Israel placed great importance on an early exchange, not the least because of its powerful symbolic value. The matter was settled and formally sealed in an exchange of letters between Carter, Begin and Sadat, all of them dated March 26, the day of the treaty signing.
In the first letter, Sadat to Carter, the Egyptian leader wrote: “In response to your request, I can confirm that, within one month after the completion of Israel’s withdrawal to the in team line as provided for in the Treaty of Peace between Egypt and Israel, Egypt will send a resident ambassador to Israel and will receive a resident Israeli ambassador in Egypt.”
The second letter, Carter to Begin, informed the Israeli Premier of Sadat’s letter of commitment and asked him to “confirm that this procedure will be agreeable to the Government of Israel. The third letter, Begin to Carter, provided this confirmation and acknowledged receipt of a letter from Sadat containing the same undertaking he made in his letter to Carter.