THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE SOVIET "PEACE OFFENSIVE"
U. OF F. LIBRARY
THE EMBASSY OF ISRAEL
January 8, 1969
P 0 LIC Y
The Implications of the Soviet "Peace Offensive"
1) Recent press reports of.Soviet feelers iniWestern capitals urging a
great power initiative for an imposed.settlement in the Middle East call
for an appraisal of Soviet motives and intentions.
Published reports suffice to show that what the Soviets have in mind is
not peace. The intent is to impose a unilateral and unconditional Israeli
withdrawal to the Armistice line which existed before the Six-Day War with-
out concluding a peace.
What the Soviets contemplate is a system :of arrangements substantially
similar to those set up following the hostilities of 1956. In principle,
they are proposing a resurrection of the palliatives and fragile arrange-
ments that served as the breeding ground for the 1967 war and which will,
inevitably, preserve the roots of the existing conflict intact, setting the
scene for more war in time to come.
2) A formula of total withdrawal is demanded without the slightest ref-
erence or allowance for those critical principles which must attend any
effort to establish true peace in the area:
a) explict.Arab recognition of Israel's.sovereign'ty. and a permanent
end to hostility;
b) contractual agreements between the parties to the conflict;
c) boundaries that are both secure and recognized, inevitably differ-
ent from the old fragile Armistice lines;
d) freedom of navigation through the Suez Canal;
e) freedom of shipping through the Straits of Tiran and the means
to guarantee its protection.
In sum, the Soviet scheme is designed to exempt the Arab Governments
from undertaking any act which would constitute a recognition of Israel's
rights and national integrity,as well as 'any movement that could lead to
the development of normal relations between the peoples of the area.
Israel, on the other hand, is expected to renounce interests crucial to
its very existence.
3) The Soviet design for an imposed political settlement is one more
effort to impose its own,and the Egyptian interpretation, of the November
22nd Security Council resolution -- namely Israel's withdrawal without
peace or the conditions and guarantees for peace. It is an endorsement of
the Arab summit Khartoum resolution (no recognition, no negotiation, no
peace), and of the Egyptian doctrine which opposes any real measure calcu-
lated to foster an Israel-Arab rapproachement. At no time has a Soviet
spokesman, or any Soviet document, ever expressed the aim of Soviet policy
to be the establishment of true peace between Israel and the Arabs. Em-
ployed instead are calculated euphemisms designed for Western ears, such as
"political settlement" or "peaceful settlement," meaning the bringing about
of an arrangement by methods short of war. Explicit recognition of the
necessity to assist in the promotion of a genuine peace settlement is nei-
ther the Soviet intention nor policy, just as it is not that of the UAR.
4) The Soviet version of a "settlement," were it to be acted upon,wuould
inevitably be interpreted as a Communist political victory enhancing Com-
munist prestige in the area. It would offer new encouragement for the
Soviet-orionted Arab regimes and pave the way for an even'more assertive
Soviet policy throughout the Middle East.
5) The Soviet proposal that the political settlement be upheld by a four-
power guarantee is of particular seriousness. The very notion of the Soviet
design opens up the prospect of direct Soviet intervention under a legalis-
tic cloak. The Russian invasion of Czechoslavakia serves notice on small
states what they are likely to expect when the Soviet Union claims for
itself the right to act outside its own borders in order to impose a settle-
6) More than that, it brings into very real focus the potential threat
of direct super pouer confrontation. To be effective, the Soviet-sponsored
arrangements would have to be actively guaranteed by the great powers.
Practically speaking, therefore, the Soviet scheme would enhance and in-
crease the role directly to be played in the area by these powers and thus
heighten rather than reduce the chances of their violent confrontation.
For were the arrangements to break down, the powers might find themselves
in a situation in which they would be obligated to act, perhaps physically,
In doing so, it is not inconceivable that they might find themselves on
7) The seeds of a Berlin situation would have thus been transplanted
into the Middle East. Given the volatile nature of the Mideast, the risks
of a superpower confrontation would stand to be even greater than in Europe.
Is every border incident, however minor, to become the object of big power
anxiety and of potential involvement as is true of Berlin? These are the
implications of a four-power imposed settlement.
8) Ultimately, Soviet talk of an imposed settlement must seriously under-
mine the Jarring mission, whose mandate (the bringing of the sides together)
is in total disaccord with the Soviet intention. Israel's support of the
Jarring mission is motivated by the same considerations which have directed
American policy since June 1967. The essential principle of that policy
was summed up by President Johnson on June 19, 1967: "Clearly the parties
to the conflict must be the parties to the peace. Sooner or later, it is
they who must make a settlement in the area. It is hard to see how it is
possible for nations to live together in peace if they cannot learn to