The 90-day ceasefire in the Middle East - which began on August 7 following the acceptance by Israel, Jordan and the UAR of the Roger's peace proposals - comes to an end on Thursday (5 November), and diplomatic activity aimed at extending the ceasefire, has been high at the UN and in many capitals.
The 90-day ceasefire in the Middle East - which began on August 7 following the acceptance by Israel, Jordan and the UAR of the Roger's peace proposals - comes to an end on Thursday (5 November), and diplomatic activity aimed at extending the ceasefire, has been high at the UN and in many capitals. Both Israel and the UAR have accepted an extension in principle, but both have stipulated that the other's alleged ceasefire violations must come to an end. But however uneasy the Arab-Israeli ceasefire is, the Middle East is more peaceful now than it has been for two years past and all efforts are being made to keep it so.
Plans for an acceptable solution of the Middle East crisis have come in recent weeks from London, Washington and Moscow. Although an immediate solution is unlikely, the various draft resolutions being presented to the UN General Assembly by the United States and groups of Afro-Asian and Latin American countries promise, if not a lasting peace, at least a continuation of the present relative peace.
Although Israel has expressed her reluctance for the firing to begin again, Prime Minister Mrs. Golda Meir continues to uphold her position that the peace talks, broken off by Israel due to alleged Egyptian violations of the ceasefire agreement, cannot be resumed until these alleged violations have been "rectified".
In support of those allegations, an Israeli army spokesman used aerial photographs and charts at a press conference in August to prove that extra missile sites had been built by the UAR in the ceasefire zone.
Later Israel also claimed that the UAR had introduced a large number of SAM III missiles into the ceasefire zone. These allegations were denied violently by the UAR. Speaking before the General Assembly of the United Nations on October 16, UAR Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad claimed that the Israelis themselves had violated the ceasefire on numerous occasions. He also accused the United States, who supported Israel's allegations concerning the SAM missiles, of scuttling their own peace initiative and perpetuating the state of war in the Middle East.
The reactions of the Arab commando organisations also bring into doubt the possible success of an extended ceasefire. The earlier Arab commando discord on the question of the Roger's peace proposals, which had already been accepted by President Nasser, turned into a solid front against acceptance with the news at a press conference that the Action Organisation for the Liberation of Palestine (AOLP) was joining the other commandos in turning the proposals down - and one of their leaders, Dr. Issam Sarawi, left no doubt as to the AOLP's position: