JERUSALEM (May. 15)
Eliahu Ben-Elissar, Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office, said last night that he was confident that despite the wide gaps, agreement would eventually be reached with Egypt on Palestinian autonomy. Ben-Elissar made this point during a television panel discussion on the autonomy issue.
He said the autonomy proposal was a concession by Premier Menachem Begin and his government, inasmuch as the Premier and the coalition majority believed in Israeli sovereignty over all of “Eretz Israel.” The intention was sincerely to give the Palestinians maximal control over their own affairs, he said. But they must not be permitted to proclaim or erect their own independent state.
Ben-Elissar said the government’s proposals would perhaps be more far-reaching were it not for the fear that the Palestinians might try to use the autonomy as a springboard to full political independence.