TEL AVIV (Jan. 8)
Premier Menachem Begin warned Egypt tonight that unless it recognizes Israel’s principles for a peace settlement, Israel would withdraw its earlier proposals and demand a change in the international boundary. He also declared flatly that Israel will never recognize any Jordanian rights in Judaea and Samaria and that the Israeli army will never leave those territories. (See related story on today’s Cabinet action.)
Begin delivered his speech, the toughest he has made since Egyptian President Anwar Sadat launched his peace initiative last November, at a meeting here of the Herut Central Committee. The meeting was called to nominate another Herut minister to the coalition Cabinet. Begin has proposed Herut’s No. 2 man, Charm Landau. But Landau is being challenged by Shmuel Katz, Begin’s old Irgun comrade in arms, who resigned Friday as the Premier’s advisor on propaganda and information.
Katz, one of the leading opponents of Begin’s peace plan, attributed his resignation to differences with Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan who blocked his attempts to establish new Israeli propaganda activities independent of the Foreign Ministry.
Begin’s tough words, addressed to Sadat and to Jordan, were believed to be an attempt to recoup the prestige he has lost among many of his most ardent followers in Herut since publication of his peace proposals. He is also apparently anxious to ensure the nomination of Landau whose defeat by Katz would be a severe personal blow to the Premier.
TOUGH WORDS WILL IMPEDE PEACE PROCESS
Referring to Sadat’s recent statements that Egypt would not tolerate the presence of Israeli settlements or settlers in any part of Sinai once a peace accord is signed, Begin warned that tough words will not contribute to the peace process or to a peace treaty. “We have agreed that each side will honor the principles of the other,” he declared.
“Israel made it clear that the settlements (in Sinai) are there to stay. If this principle is not accepted, Israel will demand territorial changes which are permitted in an agreement after a defensive war. If one side does not accept the principles of the other, the other may withdraw from its previous suggestions.”
With respect to the West Bank, Begin said: “Israel does not and will not recognize any rights of Jordan over the West Bank. In 1948 the grandfather of (King) Hussein Invaded the West Bank from the eastern bank of the Jordan. It is a great rule that evil deeds do not grant rights. Jordan will never get rights to come back to the Samaria and Judaea district.” He said that Israel’s attitude in this respect was made clear by him in his talks with President Carter Sadat, British Prime Minister James Callaghan and President Nicolas Ceausescu of Rumania.
Begin invited President Hafez Assad of Syria to join the peace talks with Israel so that a comprehensive peace agreement can be reached with all of Israel’s neighbors. But he hinted at no concessions to Syria on the Golan Heights. He reminded Assad that in the Yom Kippur War the Israeli army was 56 kilometers from Damascus while no Syrian soldier was within 258 kilometers from Jerusalem.
The Premier dismissed the Palestine Liberation Organization as a factor in the peace process. “It should be clear that with the present government the era of possible talks with the PLO has ended,” he said. In fact, he added, the PLO was disintegrating.