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See No Change in Middle East Deadlock Resulting from Jarring Return to Mideast

August 9, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Diplomatic sources said here today that Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring’s return to the Middle East is not likely to mark any change in the stalemate that persists in the Arab-Israel conflict. The United Nations’ special peace envoy to the Middle East shifted the base of his mission from Nicosia to UN headquarters in New York several weeks ago but is due back in Cyprus after Aug. 13 and is expected to resume his round of visits to Middle Eastern capitals. Foreign Minister Abba Eban will meet with Dr. Jarring at the latter’s initiative in London this week but diplomatic sources said today that they did not know what the subject of their talks would be.

(Jon Kimche, writing in the London Evening Standard today said that according to reports, Dr. Jarring intends to present something like an ultimatum to Israel that he is not prepared to continue his mission unless he receives a firm undertaking that there will be a halt to all major military operations by Israeli forces against the neighboring countries. The UN envoy has addressed similar stiff messages to the governments of Egypt, Jordan and Syria warning them that unless further terrorist infiltration into Israel from their territory and other infringements of the cease-fire are halted forthwith, he will not be able to proceed with his mission, Mr. Kimche wrote.)

Dr. Jarring’s mission stems from the UN Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 resolution calling for a “just and lasting peace” in the Middle East. According to the point of view of Arabs and their supporters, the resolution calls for Israel’s unconditional withdrawal from occupied Arab territories before peace negotiations can begin. Israel insists that withdrawal can be discussed only in the framework of direct peace talks which, it says, was the main prerequisite of the resolution.

Diplomatic sources here said that “all illusions have been dispelled” about the genuineness of Egypt’s so-called “peace offensive” conducted mainly by Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad in May and June. President Nasser’s bellicose speeches in succeeding weeks left no doubt that Egypt’s intention was not peace but continued deadlock and a new round of war against Israel when it feels it is ready, they said, noting also Nasser’s frequent expressions of support for the terrorists waging guerrilla warfare against Israel.

Sources here said that as long as Jordan is unable to halt terrorist infiltration into Israel from its territory, Israel cannot discontinue its policy of reprisals. This, however, they say, does not preclude some sort of peace talks with Jordan which, Israeli leaders still believe, would be willing to talk but is bound by Arab solidarity and an Egyptian veto. The sources here cited the U.S.-North Vietnam talks in Paris as an example of negotiations proceeding despite continued fighting.

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