Menu JTA Search

Navon Proposes Israel, Egypt Set Up Supreme Headquarters for Peace’

President Yitzhak Navon of Israel proposed today that Israel and Egypt establish a “supreme headquarters for peace” to conduct a continuing dialogue and study of the various aspects of the peace now existing between them, how to enhance and deepen those aspects and fulfill the expectations of the people of both countries.

Navon offered his ideas in an address to the Council of the National Democratic Party, the ruling party of Egypt, consisting of some 60 of Egypt’s top political figures headed by former Premier Mustapha Khalil. Speaking in Arabic, in which he is fluent, Navon also touched on political issues relating to the West Bank-Gaza autonomy negotiations and the Palestinian problem.

“These are subjects of historic, religious, emotional and security significance,” he said. “There are serious differences of opinion between us and it is senseless to underestimate them. If Egypt and Israel wished to sweep them under the rug, the negotiations could have been concluded long ago. But the deliberations are being conducted in the desire to confront the problems and try to arrive at reasonable solutions and this calls for great patience,” he said.

“I am confident that with persistence, patience and mutual trust between us, we shall overcome the difficulties and arrive at a just and agreed solution,” Navon declared. He added that “these difficulties must not interfere with the orderly progress of normalization and a growing improvement in the relations between us.”

NAVON’S SPEECH WELL RECEIVED

Navon’s hour-long speech was interrupted by applause only once — when he mentioned President Anwar Sadat. But his address appears to have been well received by his audience of government ministers, party leaders and the heads of various governmental departments.

Although he stressed that it was not within his competence to negotiate an autonomy or any other subject during his visit to Egypt, he mentioned the Palestinian issue. “We know of its existence, appreciate its importance and want its solution,” he said. “Unfortunately, the Arabs of Palestine and the government of Jordan have refused to sit at the negotiating table. In their absence, it is Egypt that assumed the burden of negotiating the details of autonomy.”

Navon said he come to Egypt to bring to the Egyptian people a true greeting from the Israeli people and to express its determination to adhere to the path of peace in spite of all difficulties. He said his proposed “supreme headquarters for peace” would comprise people of great moral and spiritual strength of both countries, including teachers, psychologists, sociologists and statesmen.

NEXT STORY