Israel Preparing Response to Sadat; Response Due for Delivery Tuesday
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Israel Preparing Response to Sadat; Response Due for Delivery Tuesday

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A special Cabinet meeting today, which was devoted to a discussion of the letter President Anwar Sadat of Egypt sent to Premier Menachem Begin yesterday asking for Israeli “clarifications” which would enable the autonomy talks to resume, decided to have a special ministerial committee draft Israel’s response to Sadat. The response is due to be delivered to Sadat tomorrow.

While the contents of the letter were not publicly disclosed, it was understood that Sadat asked Begin for private assurances that despite the Knesset action last Thursday making united Jerusalem the capital of Israel, Jerusalem is still subject to negotiations within the context of the autonomy talks. According to reports from Cairo, Sadat’s letter also stated that it was up to Israel when talks on autonomy would resume.

At a meeting with reporters in Cairo, Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamal Hassan Ali said that Sadat in his letter urged Begin “so shoulder his commitments under the Camp David agreements and not put obstacles in the way of peace.” Asked when the talks might resume, Ali said “It is not our problem now. It is up to Israel to decide the way.” He added that the Knesset legislation on Jerusalem was illegal and contrary to the Camp David accords.

Political circles in Jerusalem observed that Jerusalem is not mentioned in the accords but is the subject of accompanying side letters in which each of the parties — Egypt, Israel and the United States — set down their positions on Jerusalem. In Israel’s view, these circles said, the new law on Jerusalem “does not deviate from the position expressed by Premier Begin in his letter to President Carter and therefore there is no place for a new Egyptian reaction.”


The feeling in Jerusalem is that the Egyptians want to postpone the autonomy talks until after the Presidential election in the U.S. Anger is also being expressed over the frequent difficulties the Egyptians have created in resuming the talks. Begin said yesterday that if Sadat wanted the negotiations to resume he should do so “in consultation with all the parties, and not only when the Egyptian President wants to do it.”

Interior Minister Yosef Burg, who is also the head of Israel’s autonomy negotiating team, said: “We don’t stand there waiting for someone to blow the whistle to come. Of course, such interruptions do not help the negotiations.”


Meanwhile, according to reports from Teheran, Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr said today that Israel had committed on act of aggression by declaring that united Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Charging that Israel was entirely dependent on the United States, he was quoted by the official Pars news agency as stating: “We must free the Arabs and Jews from this (Israel) puppet government of America before the Israeli generals are able to plan and implement a coup in Iran.” He also urged Islamic movements throughout the world to “join hands in liberating all Islamic and non-Islamic lands from the domination of the super-powers,” meaning the U.S. and Israel.

In Vienna, King Hussein of Jordan, who paid a three-day informal visit to Austria where he met with Chancellor Bruno Kreisky and President Rudolf Kirchschloeger, said the Jerusalem law is an insurmountable obstacle to peace in the Middle East. He termed the Knesset action “the gravest recent development” of the Israeli government. Hussein warned governments who might be thinking about moving their embassies to Jerusalem that Arab countries as well as the whole Islamic world might break off diplomatic relations with them. (Washington reaction, P. 3.)

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