TEL AVIV (Apr. 30)
Premier Yitzhak Rabin said today that his government is prepared to give up the Abu Rodeis oilfields in Sinai in exchange for peace or even in exchange for substantial progress toward peace which would indicate that Egypt was moving away from the fields of war. Withdrawal form the oil fields, which is currently produce 50 percent of Israel’s domestic oil consumption and are one of the country largest foreign currency earners, is a fact of life, a reality that Israel will have to face, Rabin told his workers at the Abu Rodeis fields.
The Premier visited the oil fields, captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, accompany by Finance Minister Yehoshua Rabinowitz and Minister of Agriculture Aharon Ouzan. He told the workers there was no contradiction between their hard work and efforts to develop the oil field and the reality that they will have to be given up when the time comes. He said that meanwhile Israel would spare nothing to develop the fields.
While stressing that they would be evacuated for nothing less than an Egyptian commitment peace, the Premier did not specify the form of such a commitment. During the bilateral negotiations with Egypt last month conducted by Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, Israel demanded a formal statement of non-belligerency from Eg in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from the Abu Rodeis oil fields and the Mitle and Gidi Passes in Sinai.