10 Years Later, Begin Disappointed with Pace of Israeli-egyptian Peace
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10 Years Later, Begin Disappointed with Pace of Israeli-egyptian Peace

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Ten years after Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty, one of its architects, Menachem Begin, expressed disappointed at the incomplete manner in which relations between the two countries have developed.

Begin, in a radio interview unusual for the reclusive former premier, said there is no cause for real celebration now, despite the exchange of ambassadors and the air and road links between the former enemies.

Begin rejected Egyptian assertions that Israel has not fully implemented the Camp David accords and made no progress in helping to resolve the Palestinian issue.

But Eliahu Ben-Elissar, Israel’s first ambassador to Egypt and now a Likud member of the Knesset, said the peace treaty has gone beyond his expectations. He said relations between the two nations are better today than he anticipated when he first took up his post in Cairo.

Then, said Ben-Elissar, he had been concerned that Egypt would not live up to its promise of no more war with Israel.

The 10th anniversary of the signing of the Camp David accords Sunday was celebrated on Israeli radio and television by almost all-day coverage. Israeli newspapers published special supplements to mark the date.

Israel Radio broadcast interviews with leading Egyptians from a studio in Egypt Radio headquarters that were made available by Egyptian broadcasting authorities.


But pointing out the discrepancies in relations between the two countries, the Central Bureau of Statistics on Sunday published tourism figures showing that the number of Israelis traveling to Egypt, including Sinai, outnumbered Egyptians visiting Israel by 343,000 to 40,000.

This strengthens Israeli contentions that the two nations have failed to achieve “full normalization.”

In a recent New York Times account, it was pointed out, moreover, that Israeli-bound flights leaving Cairo airport are not listed by their destinations on the departure board, and the Israeli Embassy is not listed in the most recent telephone book.

Egyptian authorities told a reporter he could write about an agricultural project provided he would not mention Israeli agricultural advisers there, the Times said.

Boutros Ghali, Egypt’s foreign minister, calling the Egypt-Israel peace “cold,” told the Times, “We are still at the stage of peacekeeping, not at the stage of peace-building.”

One of the treaty’s other architects, former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, cannot comment on the status. He was killed by Moslem extremists two years after signing the treaty.

And the American conciliator, former President Jimmy Carter, told The New York Times, “I don’t think we took advantage of any opportunities in the last eight years.”

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