PARIS (Jan. 22)
Premier Menachem Begin of Israel is “optimistic” and believes that the Israeli-Egyptian negotiations which were suspended last Wednesday will be resumed. He said the Egyptian government recalled its delegation in Jerusalem “to dramatize the situation and create a climate of tension. It (the Egyptian government) believes that Europe or the United States will use pressure” to make Israel change its position.
The Premier, in an interview due to appear in the forthcoming issue of the French weekly magazine, “Le Nouvel Observateur,” added: “No one, and this should be known, no one can exert any pressure on us. I presented our peace plan to everybody. Everybody knows that our peace plan provides for settlements (in Sinai). (President) Carter knows it. (Secretary of State Cyrus) Vance knows it. (British Premier James) Callaghan knows it.”
Begin said that he had also made his position clear in his meetings with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in Jerusalem and Ismailia. “Our position, our refusal to cut Jerusalem in two, could at no time have come as a surprise to President Sadat,” he said. The Israeli Premier said he had told Sadat that Israel will not give up its settlements.
“I told him it is a tradition of our generation not to abandon Jews in a situation where they will not enjoy means of self-defense. I never told him (Sadat) that these territories (the settlements) will be torn away from us. I told him that we shall continue to settle and that we shall develop these settlements, ” Begin said. He could not reveal as yet Sadat’s reply, “but we both agreed it was a matter for discussion,” he said.
Begin said he also told Sadat in Jerusalem, during his November visit there, “that we are not prepared to return to the 1967 borders and have the Knesset within Arab gun-reach and our women and children threatened with death.” Begin said he told Sadat, “no, never again.” The Premier added Sadat “did not protest. Quite the contrary the main thing is that everything was clear between, Sadat and myself in this respect.”