Begin: Talks Were Suspended at a Time when the Political Committee Had Agreed on Five of the Seven P
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Begin: Talks Were Suspended at a Time when the Political Committee Had Agreed on Five of the Seven P

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Five of the seven principles discussed between Israel and Egypt at the political committee in Jerusalem had been agreed on before the Egyptian delegation was recalled home, Premier Menachem Begin told a delegation of the United Jewish Appeal of France here last night.

Begin did not specify what the points of agreement were. In a polemical, sometimes sharp speech, he promised that Israel would pursue the goal toward peace, although it was now up to Egypt to return to the negotiating table. He said despite potential ups and downs in the negotiations, “let nobody despair of the chances of peace,” and “ultimately–peace is inevitable.

The Premier made no mention of a possible Israel decision to stay out of the military committee talks until Egypt resumes participation in the political committee. However, according to reports here, the Cabinet will not decide on this until it convenes for its regular session Sunday. It may then condition the resumption of the military committee sessions on the continuation of the political committee talks in Jerusalem. If indeed the Cabinet postpones its decision until Sunday, the military committee will not meet Saturday as had been planned.

(The Cabinet met in emergency session last night and issued a statement on the suspension of the talks. See separate story.)


In his speech, Begin stuck to the Israeli peace plan, rejecting the counter-proposals made by Egypt. Egypt suggested, Begin said, that its army will reoccupy the shores of the Sinai peninsula. Israel could not agree to this concept, he said. It was in the interests of both peoples that the Sinai remain demilitarized.

Begin said he made it clear to President Anwar Sadat when he met him in Ismailia on Christmas Day that “the Israeli settlements in Sinai would stay.” He rejected allegations in the Egyptian press that he misled Sadat.” I told him not only that the settlements will stay, but that they will be defended by an Israeli contingent,” Begin said. He repeated a statement he had used earlier that no government in Israel could face up to the people and order dismantling of the Jewish settlements.

Begin was especially bitter when he mentioned the Egyptian press. He referred to the report in which he was compared to Shakespeare’s Shylock, comparing it to the worst anti-Semitic propaganda, and stressing that it was written by the “government directed press.”

He again rejected any suggestion for a Palestinian independent state in the territories, because such a state would become a Soviet base, similar to that in Ethiopia, Angola and Mozambique. “Never shall we place our women and children in the range of that implacable enemy of the Jewish people, the PLO. Never,” Begin declared.


The Premier rejected mockingly speculations that the Egyptian withdrawal from the Jerusalem talks was intended to cause American pressure on Israel. Begin quoted positive remarks of President Carter and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance on the Israeli peace plan, such as “notable contribution” and “a constructive approach.”

“Can a notable contribution become otherwise in four weeks? Can a constructive approach become negative within one month? Can one step forward be turned into a short step backward within several weeks?” Begin asked, in an obvious challenge to any potential pressures on Israel.

Begin defined the statement by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Ibrahim Kaamel upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport Tuesday on the need to return Jerusalem to Arab hands as “chutzpa,” and stated: “Jerusalem will be united, the capital city of Israel, for ever and ever.” He told the audience that he was asked yesterday by an Egyptian journalist to appreciate the fact that Sadat recognized Israel’s right to exist. “Shalom aleichem,” Begin said mockingly. “I suffer–therefore I exist.”

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