NEW YORK (Jul. 17)
Israeli Premier Menachem Begin, arriving here Friday afternoon on his first official visit to the United States, said he brought with him a peace plan to be presented to President Carter in Washington July 19-20.
In a statement to reporters at Kennedy International Airport, just minutes after he stepped off an El Al plane that brought him directly from Tel Aviv, Begin said that he is not “at all” apprehensive about Israeli-American relations. He said that Israel and the United States are allies and that he hopes that the process of peace in the Middle East will begin as a result of his talks in Washington. Begin also said he hoped that the friendship between the two countries will deepen as a result of the talks at the White House.
In response to a question, Begin said that everything is “negotiable” in the Mideast. But when asked if a Palestinian state is also negotiable he said “such a state cannot come into being because it endangers Israel.”
Begin and his wife were welcomed at the airport by Mayor Abraham Beame of New York City; Chaim Herzog, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations; Simcha Dinitz, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States; and Uri Ben-Ari, Israeli Consul General in New York. Also at the airport to greet Begin who arrived with an entourage of about 30 persons were scores of Israeli officials in New York and representatives of the Herut in the U.S. Friday night Begin was guest at a dinner hosted by Herzog.