Political Turmoil in Israel Gets Little Public Attention from the U.S.

The political turmoil widely reported from Israel stemming from the resignation of Defense Minister Ezer Weizman and Premier Menachem Begin’s response to his accusations of stymieing the autonomy talks received little public attention from the Carter Administration today.

At the State Department spokesman Tom Reston said he had “no comment” when he was asked if he had any reaction to the events in Israel. “That’s an internal matter for Israel,” he said. When he was asked whether the United States was concerned over the effects of the developments in Israel on the autonomy talks, Reston said:

“We have said repeatedly over the last several days that the governments of Israel and Egypt remain committed to continuing negotiations on the autonomy talks. Nothing has happened over this past weekend which has changed that commitment as for as we know. We remain in contact with both governments about their resumption of the talks. We hope they will be soon, but I have no date to give you.”

Reston said, with reference to reports that the Camp David formula is unsuccessful with May 26 — the original target date for agreement on autonomy — having passed without agreement, “our position remains that these negotiations within the Camp David framework offer the only practical prospects for reaching a solution.”

He said that the U.S. “continues to support these negotiations as a full partner.” Reston refused to discuss the results of the visit to Washington last week of Egyptian Vice President Hosni Mubarak. He denied a report that a joint U.S. Egyptian message had been sent to Israel. Asked if he had a time frame for the conclusion of the autonomy talks, Reston said these is “no time frame” and “I have nothing on the target date.”

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