PARIS (Jul. 4)
Israeli Finance Minister Simcha Ehrlich, said in an interview published here today that he was “rather pleased” that Israel and the American Jewish lobby had failed to black the sale of U.S. combat jets to Saudi Arabia and Egypt because that would have led to a bitter confrontation with Washington.
Ehrlich, who is a leader of the Liberal Party wing of Likud, told the private news bulletin, La Lettre de Danielle Huneballe: “I am not in tears over the sale. In retrospect I am rather pleased that both we and the American Jewish lobby failed to block it. It is preferable to a confrontation with the Carter Administration which would have caused hard feelings and bitterness and hurt us in the long run. “But Ehrlich did not think that President Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski was a friend of Israel.”Thank heaven we have better ones, “he said in response to a question.
Ehrlich, in the same interview, also said that Israel “will not return to Geneva. We don’t want to see the Soviets involved once again (in the peace process), “he said and “neither Egypt nor the U.S. wants to see them involved again.”He was referring, apparently, to Carter’s remark last Friday that if Israel and Egypt failed to resume their peace talks and if American mediation efforts failed, the Mideast problem would revert to the United Nations and the Geneva conference.
Ehrlich said a separate peace with Egypt “is not only desirable but also possible” and that Israel was ready to sign one. He conceded that President Anwar Sadat may not want to sign a separate peace “but he certainly has the means to do so.”