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Allon: Israel, Egypt Pull-back to Oct. 6 Positions First Step to Peace Talks

October 29, 1973
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Deputy Premier Yigal Allon proposed last night that both Israel and Egypt pull back to the positions they held on the Suez Canal before war broke out Oct. 6 as a first step to peace talks. He also expressed the opinion that the chances for a permanent peace settlement were better now than at any time since 1948. (President Nixon offered the same assessment at his press conference Friday night.)

He conceded that the cease-fire had robbed Israel of a more decisive victory over Egypt but defended it, saying that had the cease-fire “really endangered Israel’s position, the U.S. would never have asked us to accept it.” On the whole, he said Israel had improved its positions and was better placed strategically on both fronts than before the war.

Allon said that the direct meeting between Israeli and Egyptian officers might just mark the beginning of more comprehensive direct negotiations. “I believe negotiations have a dynamic of their own and these may, lead to others,” he said. He gave no indication of any American pressure behind them. He said both Israel and the Arab states had vital lessons to learn from the war.

On the Israeli side, Allon said, it was necessary to discard certain unfounded assumptions such as scorn for the Arab soldier and the inflated gap between Israeli and Arab fighting qualities. The Arabs should have learned that they cannot achieve their ends by military means and might now be ready to try diplomatic measures, he said, adding, the balance of strength between the two armies remains what it was before the war.


The war in the Middle East came to an end and diplomacy moved to the forefront during the weekend. President Nixon in a press conference Friday night said the United States and the Soviet Union had come close to a confrontation in the Middle East but now chances for peace in the area were the best in 20 years. He criticized America’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies for not supporting the U.S. position in the Middle East.

In Tel Aviv, Israeli Premier Golda Meir told her Labor Alignment colleagues that Israel was under a heavy threat from the Soviet Union but was saved by the steadfastness of the U.S. She said that the Russian threat against Israel was even greater than that following the Sinai War of 1956 but this time Israel had the U.S. on its side. Mrs. Meir said she had no words to praise the U.S. help for Israel during the war. “There is one god and one friend,” she stated. The Premier vigorously defended Israel’s acceptance of the cease-fire: “With what would we have defended ourselves had we not accepted it,” an obvious inference to U.S. arms supplies.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Kenneth Keating, in an interview on Israeli radio said the U.S. will not impose any solution on the Mideast countries and will not allow anyone else to impose a solution. He said the U.S. attitude is that future borders should be fixed through negotiations by the parties concerned in accordance with Resolution 242. Keating said there is an understanding between the U.S. and Israel on many issues although there are always some disagreements too.

West Germany told the United States to stop supplying arms to Israel from U.S. bases here. Air and sea shipments had been going on last week. The West German government told U.S. Ambassador Martin Hillenbrand and Charge d’Affaires Frank Cash that “weapons deliveries using West German territory or installations from U.S. depots in West Germany to one of the warring parties cannot be permitted.” State Secretary Paul Frank emphasized that the West German government did not want to be dragged into the Middle East conflict, and would stick to its policy of neutrality. This was the best way to help find a lasting and just peace, he said.

After a lull of almost three weeks, foreign airlines are resuming their scheduled flights to and from Israel. Lufthansa landed her first plane in Lod yesterday. Although only 20 passengers arrived and a similar number left, Lufthansa decided to maintain all her daily flights. Austrian Airways resumed regular service today and Sabena will resume flights tomorrow. Meanwhile El Al has decided to launch a large-scale campaign to encourage tourism to Israel. El Al offices already reported that many more tourists are coming to Israel, now that the Yom Kippur War has ended.

In Bonn, opposition lender Karl Carstens of the Christian Democratic Union said the Mideast war had not been started by Israel and he accused the Soviet Union, not only of supplying weapons to the Arabs, but of encouraging one Arab state, which had stood apart, to join in the conflict. He said all this had happened during a period of detente, a detente, he declared, which had not worked in the Middle East. He praised the U.S. for its precise and carefully stopped up actions, which, however, had not been implemented before Israel had stretched itself to the limits of its own defense.

NATO Secretary General Joseph Luns said in Brussels over the weekend that the European allies were right to remain silent on the Middle East crisis. In a statement to the NATO Council, the Secretary General said if NATO had not maintained silence on the Mideast conflict, “it would have appeared to be intervening directly in that part of the world.” This was apparently in response to criticisms by President Nixon and the State Department that America’s NATO allies had gone to some lengths to separate their Mideast policy from the U.S.

Observers in Brussels attributed NATO’s silence to an effort to avoid being accused of overstepping its rightful spheres of influence which are limited to the frontiers of its member countries; to a fear of Arab economic reprisals such as oil boycotts if they intervened even indirectly in the conflict; and to failure by the U.S. to officially inform NATO of its decision to mount a world-wide alert.

According to Jewish sources in the Soviet Union reaching London 25 Riga Jews protested to Tass against biased reporting of the war news. They pointed out that they did not approve of the anti-Israel policy of the Soviet government either, but they expected at least factual and unbiased reporting from the fronts by the Soviet media.

Also reported was that as soon as the Israelis crossed the Suez Canal and established a base on Egyptian soil, five Jews in Tibilisi–the Goldstein brothers, Elizabeta Bykova, Yevsey Gelman and Eva Kipnis–cabled Israeli army Chief of Staff Gen. David Elazar and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, stating: “Congratulations. We are extremely proud of our soldiers. Best wishes. We consider ourselves Israeli prisoners of war in the Soviet Union.”

Eight former leaders of the Danish World War II underground left Copenhagen tonight for Israel as part of the 30th anniversary celebration of the saving of Danish Jews from Nazi-occupied Denmark. The group was headed by Jens Lillelund, a well-known friend of Israel’s. The trip was to have taken place earlier this month but was put off because of the war.

Former Soviet master spy chief Leopold Trepper, whom Polish authorities recently granted permission to leave Poland, told the JTA in Copenhagen he would be leaving for London Nov. 3 or 4 for a leg operation. He said his doctors found him “too ill” to stop over in Copenhagen to see one of his sons. The family reunion will, therefore, take place in London. Trepper’s wife, Luba, who is still in the U.S. is due to visit her youngest son in Canada before joining her husband.

Bertram H. Gold, American Jewish Committee executive vice-president, told the agency’s National Executive Council meeting in St. Louis that “the Yom Kippur War may well have brought about new perceptions on both sides which could provide the basis for a new understanding between Arabs and Israelis.” He also told the 500 leaders that American Jews were on the threshold of a new era marked by dangers and opportunities. He cautioned that the current situation may be one “ripe for scapegoating and urged a campaign against “the new anti-Semitism that is emerging.”

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