JERUSALEM (Apr. 4)
Premier Menachem Begin informed the Knesset today of the agreements he reached with President Anwar Sadat during his two-day visit to Cairo this week the main points are the exchange of letters of notification between Israel and Egypt which will put their peace treaty formally into effect, the proclamation of open borders and the establishment of civilian air corridors between the two countries, and the installation of a direct telephone line between Begin and Sadat.
The latter will become operative as of next Wednesday morning, Begin told the Knesset, “so that we can tell each other what we like whenever we want.” Technicians began work today on the Israeli end of the telephone link in the Prime Minister’s Office. Begin and Sadat are expected to open it with a brief conversation Wednesday.
CHANGE OF VENUE FOR DOCUMENTS EXCHANGE
With respect to the exchange of ratification documents, Begin said today that it will be done early next week at Umm Khashiba, on American-manned early warning station in Sinai. for This represents a significant change of plans, for Begin had told the press in Cairo yesterday that Egypt’s Acting Foreign Minister Boutros Ghali would fly to Israel next week with a ratified copy of the peace Lrealy while Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan would take the Israeli copy to Cairo. The Egyptians apparently were reluctant to have Ghali go to Jerusalem with the document because It would imply that Egypt recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Begin confirmed that he and Sadat agreed to proclaim open borders and establish air corridors on May 27, a day after FI Arish is returned to Egyptian sovereignty. The two leaders will symbolize the inauguration of free movement between their nations when Begin flies to EI Arish to meet with Sadat and then returns with him to Beersheba. Defense Minister Ezer Weizman will go to Cairo next week, accompanied by senior Israeli military officers, for talks with his Egyptian counterpart, Defense Minister Kamal Has san Ali. The Israeli-Egyptian joint political and military committees will begin their meetings next month, alternating between EI Arish and Beersheba.
Begin likened this timetable to the counting of the Omer, the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot. “We have concluded the counting of the Omer in building peace,” he told the Knesset. He warned, however, “There still stands before us very difficult and serious problems…There will be differences of opinion between us and Egypt. They say so and so do we But there is no reason to repeat this fact, “Begin said. He said “My visit to Cairo surpassed all expectations.”
The Knesset adjourned after today’s session for the Passover holidays. Begin’s speech was well received except for minor interruptions from Herut hardliner Geula Cohen and Toufik Toubl of the Rakah Communist faction. Some MKs had lavish praise for the Prime Minister. But Yigal Allon, speaking for the opposition Labor Party, said he was suspicious of the autonomy plan for the West Bank and Gaza Strip and reiterated Labor’s view that negotiations over the West Bank must be conducted with Jordan.
MINISTERS EXUDE OPTIMISM
The Knesset session followed a 20-minute Cabinet meeting this morning at which Begin briefed the ministers on his Cairo visit. No details were disclosed but most of the ministers seemed optimistic as they left the Cabinet room. It was learned that learned each ministry will draft working papers in the next few days affecting various aspects of the normalization of relations with Egypt.
Justice Minister Shimuel Tamir said he has already issued instructions for legal measures to change the status of Egypt from that of on enemy state to a friendly neighbor. He said new legislation would be introduced if necessary.