TEL AVIV (Dec. 27)
With the Cairo conference adjoined until early next year, the Israeli “colony” of diplomats and journalists who have been in the Egyptian capital for the past three weeks is returning.
Dr. Eliahu Ben-Elissar, head of the Israeli negotiating team in Cairo, told reporters at Ben Gurion Airport that reports of disappointment in Egypt over the outcome of the Ismailia talks were grossly exaggerated. He also said he could not understand why there was disappointment in Israel. “This is the beginning of a long process and there are ups and downs in every such process,” he said.
Ben-Elissar said the work of the Cairo conference was of important material value and many personal connections were made. If was an important start, he said, and he was confident that peace ultimately will be achieved.
Israeli Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, who accompanied Begin to Ismailia, spoke in a similar vein to the Likud Knesset faction today. He said he was confident that 1978 will be the year of peace.
Pending resumption of negotiations on the ministerial level, only a skeleton staff of Israelis remained in Cairo along with a few Israel Broadcasting Service people who will do a series of programs on Egypt. An El Al Boeing 707 from Cairo landed at Ben Gurion Airport last night with scores of Israeli journalists.