Dayan: Israel Should Not Complete Withdrawal from Sinai Unless a ‘serious Force’ is Set Up in Area
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Dayan: Israel Should Not Complete Withdrawal from Sinai Unless a ‘serious Force’ is Set Up in Area

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Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan continued to defend the agreement reached in Washington last month to monitor Israel’s withdrawal from Sinai but stressed, in an interview with Yediot Achronot today, that this was only a temporary and incomplete arrangement that would have to be replaced by a “serious force” if Israel is expected to complete its evacuation from the peninsula in three years.

He said the U.S. felt that it could not, at the present time create the multi-national peace-keeping force envisaged in the Israeli-Egyptian treaty and therefore it had agreed to undertake the monitoring of the interim withdrawal itself. Dayan stressed that the American role in the interim supervision would be limited to surveillance without the “active peace-keeping” prescribed by the peace treaty.

He said that technologically, the U.S. was better equipped for this than the United Nations on any Third World group of nations. But the American reluctance to assume an active role to ensure treaty compliance meant that this element of the framework would be missing.

Israel would not be able to tolerate such a depleted peace-keeping presence in the vital zones to be evacuated in three years time, Dayan said. Those zones include command of the Straits of Tiran at Sharm el-Sheikh and the Rafah salient, the two most strategically sensitive regions of Sinai.

Therefore, Dayan said, “If there will be no serious force that could undertake the heavy peace-keeping work envisaged for (the zones) such as ensuring freedom of navigation, then in my view, Israel ought not (in such circumstances) withdraw” from those zones.

Dayan said the peace-keeping agreement signed as part of the treaty package provided that free navigation through the straits should be the direct responsibility of the envisaged peacekeeping force. Its role would not be merely to supervise the Egyptians to ensure free navigation but to ensure it directly by its own means. The some principle applies to the Yamit area and the Rafah airfields. There must be no Egyptian military presence in those areas, Dayan declared.


He accused Egypt of reneging on an agreement in principle reached by President Anwar Sadat and Premier Menachem Begin when they met in Haifa last month. Under that agreement, mixed patrols of the two countries were to undertake the peace-keeping. Sadat seemed to accept the idea in Haifa but his Defense Minister, Kamal Hassan Ali, refused to implement it at the tripartite talks in Washington a week ago.

Meanwhile, Moshe Arens, chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, met with Begin today to convey the committee’s objections to the interim agreement reached at Washington. Begin persuaded Arens to hold his fire and say nothing more publicly on the matter until the Cabinet concludes its debate on the issue this Sunday. Several ministers have expressed serious reservations about the agreement but informed sources here believe that it will be endorsed by a Cabinet majority.

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