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Shamir: Egypt Has No Basis for Complaining About the Golan Law

Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir said last night that there was no reason for a buildup of Egyptian bitterness over the Golan law which was “a legitimate step by Israel” to ensure its security.

Egypt had no reason to complain about Israel because Israel was “doing the giving and Egypt the taking” in the relationship between the two countries, Shamir added in an Israel Radio interview. Israel for its part was dissatisfied with some of Egypt’s actions in regard to the normalization process and to “the atmosphere in Cairo today,” he said.

Shamir acknowledged in his radio interview that the Golan law would cause difficulties in Israel’s foreign relations, notably in relations with the United States. Israel, of course, always did what it could to maintain good relations with Washington, he said, but that consideration could hardly be the sole criterion of government policymaking.

“There is not a total identity of interests — and the U.S. understands that full well,” Shamir said. “Many times over the years … there were disagreements and misunderstandings. But the friendship between us continued notwithstanding. I am sure that will be the case now, too.”

ISRAEL READY FOR PEACE WITH SYRIA

He said Israel still stood ready “with its hand stretched out towards Syria in peace.” Asked what interest Syria’s President Hafez Assad now had in negotiating with Israel, Shamir replied that all Israeli governments since 1967 had made it clear that Israel would not “descend from” the Golan — and that if Assad had the true interests of his country at heart he would seek to obtain peace.

Asked whether he was prepared to attach the “traditional” rider to Israeli peace offers — negotiation “without preconditions,” Shamir replied: “Yes … definitely.” Asked if he could envisage a territorial compromise on the Golan Heights, Shamir responded: “I said without preconditions. Thus the Syrians, in a negotiation, could put forward whatever demands they wished.”

NO CONNECTION BETWEEN CAMP DAVID, GOLAN LAW

The Foreign Minister stressed that there was “no connection” between the Golan law and the negotiations under Camp David. Indeed, it was clear to all concerned at the time of Camp David that Israel and Egypt were in disagreement both over Jerusalem and over the Golan Heights, he said.

The new law, Shamir noted, would give the people living on the Golan — both Israelis and non-Israelis — a “sense of permanence and certainty.” It would serve to inculcate into the consciousness of the world that “the borders of Eretz Yisrael include the Golan Heights.” Israel sought to inform the world “that we will never return to the 1967 lines.”

Interviewer Shimon Shiffer asked: “In that case, according to that outlook, it would be as well if Israel applied its law and administration to Judaea and Samaria, too?” Shamir replied: “No — because Israel signed the Camp David accords and the peace treaty with Egypt. It undertook to set up an autonomy in Judaea, Samaria and Gaza. Israel is faithful to its undertakings.”

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