WASHINGTON (Apr. 15)
President Carter and Premier Menachem Begin of Israel opened their two days of meetings at the White House today with Begin saying, according to informed Israeli sources that the Camp David formulas and the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty must be adhered to strictly for them to be successful.
According to a member of the Israeli delegation. Begin proposed that future negotiations over autonomy for the West Bank and Gaza Strip be held during the next 40 days in Israel and Egypt. He said Begin’s suggestion was that the negotiators meet for 20 days in Tel Aviv and 20 days in Alexandria. The target date for an agreement on autonomy is May 26, 41 days away.
When President Anwar Sadat of Egypt was in Washington last week for his meeting with Carter, he had proposed that the top negotiators–Israeli Interior Minister Yosef Burg. Egypt’s Prime Minister Mustapha Khalil and U.S. special Ambassador Sol Linowitz — conduct future negotiations in Washington. However, Israeli government sources said earlier that they could not afford to have Cabinet ministers away for so long a time. The White House had no immediate comment on the progress of the Carter-Begin talks.
Carter and Begin held the first of three scheduled meetings at the White House this morning in the continuing effort to find formulas for autonomy on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Carter, who held similar meetings with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt last week, greeted Begin in the White House Rose Garden in front of television cameras, but neither made any statement.
Begin’s schedule here is identical to that of Sadat a week ago. He and Carter had a private lunch on the White House today, followed by a second meeting this afternoon and a White House dinner this evening. They will hold their third meeting tomorrow morning after which Begin will hold a news conference.
Although it is not included in the Camp David accords, the issue of Jewish settlements on the West Bank is hanging heavily over the Premier’s visit. Begin has invited U.S. Senators to meet with him at Blair House late this afternoon. The issue is also expected to come up when the Israeli leader goes to Capitol Hill tomorrow to meet with the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
EVANGELICAL MINISTERS SUPPORT BEGIN
Begin’s claim of Israel’s right to settle the West Bank was supported by a group of Evangelical Christian ministers who met with him at Blair House this morning. The group presented Begin with a letter, signed by The Rev. Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder and Speaker of “The Old Time Gospel Hour” of Lynchberg. Va., who preaches on television.
It said: “On theological as well as historical, grounds, we proclaim that the land of Israel embraces Judaea and Samaria as intergral parts of the Jewish patrimony with Jerusalem as its indivisible capital. We acknowledge the right of Jewish settlements in these areas and our solidarity is with the pioneers who are returning today to the heartland of the Jewish nation.”
The letter also said. “Israel stands as a bulwark of strength and defense against those who by terror and blackmail threaten our democratic way of life ..Israel has always upheld America and as Christian leaders, we pledge to always uphold Israel.”
1000 RALLY IN SUPPORT OF BEGIN’S POLICIES
Another demonstration of support for Begin’s policies was staged by a group of Jews who gathered in Lafayette Park across from the White House today with placards proclaiming “A Jewish Judaea and Samaria” and denouncing “The Carter-Sadat Anti-Israel Policy.” A statement put out by the Menorah group, which listed Rabbi Herzl Krantz of Silver Springs, Md. as its spokesman, claimed that “strengthening Israel and not weakening Israel is in America’s interests.”
The rally, attended by about 1000 persons, mostly young Orthodox Jews, was addressed by Lt. Gen. George Keegan, retired chief of Air Force intelligence, who said that Israel should retain the West Bank and Golan Heights.
“There will be no security for Israel– for the Palestinians on the West Bank and for Israelis — unless the West Bank is neutralized and protected from subversive capture by the PLO,” he said. He dismissed the Golan Heights as “not worth anything” economically but said “it must remain as it is” for Israel’s security. Keegan claimed that Israel is “the only friend the U.S. has had in its security interests in the Mediterranean for the last 25 years.” The rally was organized by the Hineni movement which was founded in New York in 1973. Esther Jungrels, the “rebbitzin” of Hineni, was among those who addressed the rally which included delegations from many cities along the east coast.
On his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base late yesterday. Begin was greeted by Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. He spoke briefly, expressing sympathy for the American hostages in Teheran. He said the U.S. could count on Israel as an ally.