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The War of Attrition: Israel's Reply to the United States Peace Initiative

(August 4, 1970)

4 August, the Cabinet approved the following text of the Government's reply to the Government of the United States, asking Washington to transmit it to Ambassador Jarring.

Having considered President Nixon's message of 24 July 1970, basing itself on its contents and in strict adherence to its policy principles and authoritative statements, the Government of Israel has decided to reply affirmatively to the latest US peace initiative, and to inform the US that it may convey to Ambassador Jarring that:

1. Israel is prepared in due time to designate a representative to discussions to be held under Ambassador Jarring's auspices with the UAR (Jordan), according to such procedure and at such places and times as he may recommend, taking into account, each side's attitudes as to method of procedure and previous experience of discussions between the parties.

2. Israel's position in favour of a cease-fire on a basis of reciprocity on all fronts, including the Egyptian front, in accordance with the Security Council's cease-fire Resolution, remains unchanged. On the basis of clarifications given by the US Government in this matter, Israel is prepared to reply affirmatively to the US proposal for a cease-fire (for at least three months) on the Egyptian front.

3. The discussions under Ambassador Jarring's auspices shall be held within the framework of Security Council Resolution 242, on the basis of the expression of readiness by the parties to carry out the Security Council Resolution 242 in all its parts, with the object of achieving an agreed and binding contractual peace agreement between the parties which will ensure:

(a) Termination by Egypt (Jordan) and Israel of all claims or states of belligerency and respect and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of each other and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force. Each of the parties will be responsible within its territory for the prevention of all hostile acts by regular military forces or paramilitary forces, including irregular forces, against the armed forces or against civilians living in the territory of the other party.

(b) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the 1967 conflict to secure, recognized and agreed boundaries to be determined in the peace agreements.

4. Israel will participate in these discussions without any prior conditions. Israel will not claim the prior acceptance by the other party of its positions, as Israel does not accept in advance the positions of the other parties as communicated publicly or otherwise. Each party will be free to present its proposals on the matters under discussion.

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry