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Israeli Military Sources Satisfied with Sinai Monitoring Agreement

Israeli military sources have expressed satisfaction with the arrangements for monitoring treaty compliance in Sinai agreed to by Israel, Egypt and the U.S. in Washington last month. The views expressed by these sources differed sharply from those of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee which unanimously rejected the agreement yesterday on grounds that it posed dangers for Israel.

According to the sources, which were not immediately identified, the arrangement by which 200 American civilian monitors will continue to maintain electronic surveillance while Israeli and Egyptian patrols jointly police the buffer zone is quite adequate.

The sources maintained in fact that the American technicians could maintain control systems more efficiently than the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) which was terminated by the Security Council last July. They described the agreement as “an important brick in the construction of peace and security in Sinai.”

The Knesset committee and several Cabinet ministers contend that the American technicians are insufficient to ensure treaty compliance during Israel’s phased withdrawal from Sinai. However, the military sources pointed out that the American-manned early warning stations will be equipped with helicopters as well as sophisticated devices to maintain control and inspection of the buffer and limited forces zones. The plan calls for Israeli-Egyptian checkpoints as well as combined control teams. (Related story P.3.)

(In Washington, the State Department said yesterday that it would not comment on the rejection by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee of the U.S.-Egyptian-Israeli agreement on monitoring the Sinai Peninsula, but it indicated that the issue remains to be determined. Department spokesman Hodding Carter said the United States “expects action at an appropriate time.” He said the Knesset committee’s action does not mean the agreement “won’t happen.”)

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