JERUSALEM (Jan. 24)
Israeli officials believe that Egypt will not enter talks on an interim Suez accord with Israel until the Sadat government has the situation in that country firmly under control. The officials said that the violent student demonstrations in Cairo and Alexandria in recent days are an unprecedented occurrence in Egypt but they believed that President Anwar Sadat is in no danger inasmuch as there are no indications of dissatisfaction with his regime among Army officers or in his newly reshuffled Cabinet.
The Egyptian students have been demanding that the government abandon diplomatic channels and prepare for war with Israel. Israeli observers noted that ordinarily the Egyptian population was docile and obeyed the government. Groups of plotters in that country never assume mass proportions and the style in Egypt is the coup d’etat rather than revolution, they said. They recalled that in the riots several years ago, students and workers refrained from attacking the then President Gamal Abdel Nasser personally.
In Cairo yesterday, Egypt’s new Premier Dr. Aziz Sidky submitted a program for austerity and economic mobilization which places the country on a virtual war footing. In a speech to the Peoples Assembly he disclosed that his austerity measures include a 50 percent increase in customs duties on imported luxuries and an additional land tax of $46 per sore that Egyptian land-owners will have to pay. He demanded that waste in government spending be eliminated and warned that “slackers” will be punished. Dr. Sidky declared that the purpose of the economic mobilization was “total confrontation” with Israel.