JERUSALEM (Aug. 26)
One of the main topics to be discussed next week in the meeting between Premier Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat will be the continued oil supply to Israel from the oil fields in Sinai after Israel returns the area to Egypt at the end of November Begin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee over the weekend.
Begin said that oil was the key word for the heavy pressure Western nations were exerting on Israel recently. But, he added, Israel will not give in to oil pressure just as it will not give in to demands to return to the 1967 borders. “If people try to exert pressure then this nation will not surrender, and it prefers to eat bread and margarine rather than give way,” Begin said.
Prot. Moshe Arens, chairman of the committee, urged the government to secure a long-term agreement on the purchase of oil from Egypt before the wells were returned. He said the oil contract should be integrated into the peace agreement, Arens suggested that if Egypt was not ready to sign an oil contract for 10 years, Israel ought to halt its withdrawal from Sinai.