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European Parliament Leader Praises Israel’s Peace Plan; Begin Critical of European Economic Communit

Emilio Colombo, President of the European Parliament, praised Israel’s peace plan at a press conference here yesterday as “a very important contribution in spirit as well as in content, to the Mideast negotiating process.” He added, however, that in the view of the European Parliament, “the reality of the Palestinian existence must be taken into full account” in the course of negotiations.

Colombo, who is visiting Israel, was briefed by Premier Menachem Begin on the latest Middle East developments. Begin tried to impress upon his guest that Europe must let Israel and Egypt conduct their negotiations without outside interference and unnecessary statements.

In that connection, he sharply criticized the recent statement by the European Economic Community (EEC) favoring Israel’s withdrawal to its 1967 borders. Begin claimed that was a “distortion” of UN Security Council Resolution 242. He said that if the European countries could not support his peace plan in the some way as the U.S. “they should at least be neutral.”

Colombo told newsmen here that the European Parliament’s most intensive contact with other parliaments overseas, apart from the U.S. Congress, was with the Knesset. He announced that a two-tier dialogue on political and agricultural issues will be held between the European Parliament and the Knesset next November in Jerusalem.