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Allon:possible Suez Flare-up if Disengagement is Not Solved

November 29, 1973
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Israeli and Egyptian negotiators postponed for another day their continuing efforts to reach agreement on the issue of disengagement of forces along the Suez Canal. A United Nations spokesman announced in Cairo that the meeting that was scheduled to take place today at the 101 kilometer marker on the Suez-Cairo road was postponed “by mutual consent” until tomorrow.

Deputy Premier Yigal Allon warned, meanwhile, that there was a danger of an “unintentional flare-up” on the Egyptian front as long as the disengagement problem remains unsolved. He said the major task before the Middle East peace conference opens in Geneva Dec. 18 was to stabilize the cease-fire with a disengagement between the parties. But observers here see little chance of a breakthrough before the Geneva conference. The feeling here is that the talks that have been going on for three weeks between Israel’s chief negotiator Gen. Aharon Yariv and Egyptian Gen. Mohammed Gemassi will continue until the Geneva parley opens and that the disengagement issue will then become the number one item on the peace conference agenda.

Allon, speaking at a symposium on the post war situation held at the Van Leer Institute here, rejected the view that a peace treaty with the Arabs would be valueless. On the contrary, he said, given “the bitter relations in the area there is tremendous value in a written contract.” He suggested that the Geneva conference would have more chance to succeed if Israel negotiated separately with each Arab state “because the situation is different with each country”

Allon stressed that Israel has no claims on Egyptian territory and recognized Egypt’s sovereignty over the Suez Canal on both its banks. He said he favored restoration of the waterway to full operation and the reconstruction of Egyptian towns along its banks.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan addressing a seminar of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Tel Aviv warned today that the cease-fire may not hold out but that the forthcoming peace conference had a chance to pave the way to peace in the region if Israel was careful not to forego anything vital to its future.


Dayan praised U.S. military assistance to Israel while it fought the armies of Egypt and Syria and expressed appreciation for Washington’s political support. He said, however, that he hoped that the U.S., in the future, would not attempt to dictate Israel’s security frontiers to her, since in the absence of these frontiers, any peace proposed would be unstable and doubtful.

The Defense Minister observed that “The Arabs are very much in favor of the Geneva conference which they hope to use as a forum to achieve Israel’s withdrawal from all of the administered territories–a success they did not manage to gain on the battlefield. But despite these aims, there is a chance that this conference may yet pave the road to peace in the region.”


Foreign Minister Abba Eban, addressing the 74 American Jewish community leaders during another seminar in Jerusalem last night leveled a thinly veiled attack on the Dayan policies when he declared flatly that Israel’s pre-war “security doctrine” had failed and that all policy assumptions that had rested on it now had to be revised. The security doctrine proved invalid, Eban said, because Israel’s assessment of the results of the Six-Day War was. “not an authentic or permanent reflection of the real military balance.” The upshot was over-confidence. “The national style and rhetoric became overly strident. Domestic rivalries led to the proliferation of maximalist statements,” Eban said.

Among the “illusions” he said Israelis fell prey to were “that the cease-fire could exist indefinitely in a political vacuum; that one million Arabs would be kept under Israeli control forever provided their economic and social welfare were impressively advanced; that Zionism forbade a sharing of national sovereignty between two nations in Palestine.” Regarding the territorial issue, Eban said “We should not abandon the idea of strategic depth…but there is a versatile range of methods by which this can be achieved–sometimes, but not always, by territorial change.”

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