Jerusalem (Nov. 16)
Premier Menachem Begin categorically rejected the eight-point Saudi Arabian plan for the Middle East and declared that Israel does not need recognition from anybody.
Addressing the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee today, Begin argued that even if Saudi Arabia was willing to recognize Israel, it would still go ahead with its plans to destroy Israel. “One can also destroy a recognized state,” Begin said, recalling that Nazi Germany recognized Poland — and then invaded it. “Declarations were not enough,” the Premier stated.
Begin’s statement followed a report yesterday in The New York Times that Gaafar Allagany, Saudi Arabia’s acting delegate to the United Nations, said in an interview that the plan offered by Crown Prince Fahd “does recognize Israel…. We are not afraid to say that it does recognize Israel.”
Allagany was referring to point seven of the plan which affirms “the right of all countries in the region to live in peace.” The plan does not refer to Israel, but it does specifically call for Israel’s complete evacuation of occupied Arab territory and the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem. According to a radio report from Riyadh today, a spokesman for Fahd said the Crown Prince disassociated himself from Allagany’s reference to recognizing Israel.
EGYPTIAN AUTONOMY DEMANDS UNACCEPTABLE
Turning to the autonomy talks which concluded in Cairo last Thursday after two days, Begin said the Egyptians had once again called for the inclusion of East Jerusalem Arabs among the eligible voters for administrative council under the autonomy plan for the West Bank. In addition, Begin said, Egypt also demanded judicial and legislative powers for that council. He said he would never accept either proposal, but affirmed that the talks would continue until agreement is reached.
The Premier said there was no hurry to conclude the autonomy talks before April, the time set for Israel’s final withdrawal from Sinai. He stated that there is no linkage between autonomy and withdrawal and affirmed that withdrawal would be completed as scheduled.
Begin also said he would not initiate a tripartite summit with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and President Reagan, although he would be prepared to attend if he were asked to. He said there was no need to attend a summit in which Israel would only be required to make concessions. Turning to the two outspoken doves in the Knesse committee, Yossi Sarid of the Labor Alignment and Dror Seigerman of Likud, Begin said: “We can send these two to do the job.” Responding, Sarid said: “Mr. Premier, considering the concessions you made at Camp David, there is no need to replace you.”