NEW YORK (Jun. 26)
Harry Hurwitz, Premier Menachem Begin’s advisor on external information, started here last night a tour across the United States in which he will meet with representatives of the American media in an effort to explain the policies of the Begin government, some of which have aroused sharp criticism in the general media and puzzlement and controversy among American Jews.
Speaking with members of the Jewish media in New York at a press conference at the Israeli Consulate here, Hurwitz said that the main message he carries with him is that “the terms of the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt are working satisfactorily,” and that the process of normalization between the two countries is quicker than anticipated.
But he said that current talks in Israel between Israeli and Egyptian officials on autonomy for Palestinians living in Judaea, Samaria and Gaza might face complications. “Please be prepared for ups and downs, for advances and setbacks” in the autonomy talks, Hurwitz said. He expressed, however, the belief that despite the expected difficulties, differences will be solved because “there is a desire on both sides to make progress.”
Asked if Israeli settlements in Judaea and Samaria might have an adverse affect on the talks with Egypt, Hurwitz replied so far there are no indications that Israel’s moves in these areas are disturbing relations with Egypt.
MAKING ‘MOUNTAIN FROM MOLEHILL
On the controversial Alan Moreh settlement, which brought criticism from Jews and non-Jews alike, Hurwitz said: “I believe we are making a mountain from a molehill.” He said that “all the fuss” is over a small stretch of rocky land of about ten acres. He reiterated the contention of the government that the settlements are legal and they are needed for Israeli security.
Hurwitz said that those American Jews who criticize the settlements do not know the facts and the importance of these settlements for Israel’s defense. Noting that according to some recently published statistics only five percent of American Jews have visited Israel, he said that “the Jews of America should come and see the land for themselves” and only then they will be able to judge on Israeli security needs in Judaea and Samaria which overlook the narrow coastline of Israel.