STRASBOURG (Oct. 10)
Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan of Israel and Egypt’s Foreign Minister Butros Ghali explained their countries’ respective views and interpretations of the Camp David agreements and the ongoing peace process in the Middle East to the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe at its opening session here today.
For two nations obviously committed to peace in the region and striving to normalize relations between them, the views were sharply divergent. The Egyptian diplomat, who spoke first, clearly sought to put Israel on the defensive.
According to Ghali, the major difference is that Egypt wants a general and comprehensive peace in the region while Israel insists on bilateral negotiations. In that connection, he accused Israel of trying to isolate Egypt from its partners and friends. Dayan responded that the Camp David agreements are the only realistic framework for the promotion of peace and they cannot be deviated from. He repeated that point several times in his presentation.
The parliament of the Council of Europe consists of the representatives of 21 West European countries. Although its function is only advisory, it has considerable influence with the governments and public opinion of its member states.
CLASH OVER PLO
The two ministers clashed over the issue of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Ghali called on the Europeans to undertake diplomatic action aimed at establishing a dialogue between the United States, Israel and the PLO. Dayan declared repeatedly that Israel would never sit down with that terrorist organization whose practice is to murder Israeli citizens and whose goal is the liquidation of the Jewish State.
Ghali charged that Israel was attempting to exacerbate Egypt’s differences with the Arab rejectionist states by provocative declarations, the creation of Jewish settlements on the West Bank and its continuing attacks in Lebanon. Dayan stressed that Israel was acting solely in self-defense in Lebanon and charged that the parties responsible for the continuing violence in that country were Syria and the PLO.
The Egyptian called on the European states to protect the rights of the Palestinians while trying to allay Israel’s fears for its security and to try, through diplomatic action or refraining from certain action, to help bridge inter-Arab differences. He also stated that Egypt wanted a comprehensive peace with the largest number of participants, witnesses or guarantors, including the United Nations. He alleged that Israel was reluctant to adopt such an approach but preferred a separate and bilateral solution to the Mideast conflict.
Dayan said that the only solution to the Palestinian problem is to be found in the Camp David agreements and the current negotiations. The Israeli Foreign Minister also expressed “our disappointment at the attitude of some of the European governments toward the peace process.” Ghali blasted the Arab rejectionist states and accused them and the PLO of working together with Israeli rejectionists to block Egypt’s quest for peace.
After the session, Ghali told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “in spite of all these basic and fundamental differences, I remain optimistic. Let us not forget that when the Israeli-Egyptian negotiations started the gap between us was just as wide. We finally managed to bridge it, but the first thing now is the need for Israel to make unilateral decisions and meaningful statements.”
DIFFER OVER CAMP DAVID TIMETABLE
Appearing together at a press conference this afternoon, Dayan and Ghali continued to disagree on basic issues. The Egyptian minister noted that under the Camp David timetable only seven months are left to find a solution to the Palestinian problem. “Should we fail to reach such a solution we shall seek other venues such as an international conference or a return to the United Nations Security Council, “he said.
Dayan stressed that the Camp David timetable was only a target date and said that if the negotiations should fail to produce a solution by then, more time can be devoted to the problem. He guoted President Anwar Sadat as saying that the Palestinians will be able to join the talks even three years from now. “If President Sadat can wait, so can we, ” Dayan said.
ROLE OF EUROPE
The two ministers took different views on the role Europe can play in furthering the peace process in the Middle East. Dayan said “Either you help us implement Camp David or stay out of it.” Continuing, he declared: “Nothing in the world can change the Camp David agreements. We will not consider changing a word or a comma Making suggestions can only have an adverse affect on the agreement’s implementation.”
But Ghali appealed to the European nations to “help, help by granting economic aid to the Palestinians in the occupied territories, enabling them to build hospitals and schools but also by providing us with guarantees. We, Egypt and the Palestinian state which will be created, need all the international guarantees we can obtain.”
Dayan stressed that even after Israel withdraws its troops from occupied territories “we shall be free to return should our security be at stake.” Ghali said, however, that once Israel is out, “this departure must be definite and final. There must being right of pursuit, no right of return and no right of reprisal. ” Dayan is due to leave here tonight for Zurich and to fly to Israel tomorrow. Ghali will leave for Paris where he is due to meet French officials during a two-day stopover before returning to Egypt.