My Plan for Peace
In the peace proposal we have presented we gave up this past claim to territorial control. For the sake of an agreement and the peace, we now suggest that the narrow strip between our southern port, Eilat, and Sharm-el-Sheikh, become a United Nations zone. This is a far-reaching compromise proposal. And I emphasise, again, that we made it because of our will and our wish to reach an agreement that will make a peace treaty between ourselves and Egypt possible.
Then there is the concept of the demilitarization. In a private talk I held in Jerusalem with President Sadat last November, I pointed out to him that the desert must not again be filled with soldiers and weapons. Four times we had to fight wars of defence because the Sinai was turned into a base for marching armies attempting to invade our country and destroy our independence and, indeed, our people.
Those wars must never recur.
The desert must not again serve as a base for aggression and invasion. It is a universally recognised demand for demilitarization. I wish I could speak of absolute, total demilitarization. But, at best, under all circumstance, units of the Egyptian army will remain deployed around the Giddi and Mitla Passes in the western part of the peninsula.
And, indeed, during our Jerusalem talk—after some preliminary clarifications—President Sadat told me clearly, and without qualifications, that the Egyptian forces will not cross the line of the passes. It was on this crucial basis that Israel drew up its peace proposal with Egypt.
Imagine, then, our astonishment when, shortly afterwards, the Egyptian War Minister presented to our Defence Minister a map which drew a line of demilitarization only 40 kilometres from the international boundary. It is to that border, my friends, that we are prepared, ultimately, to withdraw our forces, after a transition period of several years, according to our peace proposal.
Forty kilometres, compared to a distance of between 180 and 200 kilometres, which was the area of demilitarization agree upon in my Jerusalem talk with President Sadat—in that difference between what was promised and what was proposed lies one of the most vital issues of our national security.