Begin Unveils Full Peace Plan; Says Israel Has Made Its Move Toward Peace and Now It is Up to Egypt
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Begin Unveils Full Peace Plan; Says Israel Has Made Its Move Toward Peace and Now It is Up to Egypt

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Premier Menachem Begin unveiled the details of his peace plan in the Knesset today, termed his Ismailia summit meeting with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt “successful” and declared that Israel has made its contribution to peace and “now it is the turn of the other side.” (Story on vote, P.3.)

In his Knesset speech, the Premier referred repeatedly to hardliners in the Egyptian foreign policy establishment who still entertained the notion that international pressure could be brought to bear on Israel to soften its position. He called them “men thinking hackneyed thoughts.”

But Begin also assailed the hardliners and rejectionists within his own political constituency who are trying to organize an opposition bloc to his proposals. “If it is decreed upon me to battle against my own friends I will accept the decree with love,” he declared. “There is no way out… I must accept the heavy responsibility for it is clear to me that I am proceeding along the right course…My way is indeed the only way in which to advance towards peace,” Begin said.

In defending his peace plan, the Premier stressed that it had won the “positive assessment” of President Carter and Prime Minister James Callaghan of Britain. He said that Carter had described it as “a fair basis for peace negotiations” and that Carter’s opinion was shared by Vice President Walter Mondale, National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brezinski, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and such influential Senators as Henry Jackson, Jacob Javits, Richard Stone and Hubert Humphrey. His plan was also approved by former President Ford and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Begin said.


His Ismailia encounter with Sadat, he said, was “a successful meeting.” He said the most important success was achieved at the outset when he and the Egyptian President agreed to establish joint political and military committees on the ministerial level to pursue negotiations in detail.

Some aides to the Premier told newsmen later that the Ismailia meeting would have been more successful were it not for hardliners in the Egyptian Foreign Ministry who influenced Sadat. They included, among the hardliners, Esmat Abdel Meguid, Egypt’s Ambassador to the United Nations, who heads the Egyptian negotiating team at the Cairo conference. One source suggested that but for that element, Sadat and Begin would have agreed on a joint statement of principle at Ismailia. But other sources here tended to doubt that analysis.

In spelling out his proposals for Sinai and for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Begin insisted that there was no intention whatsoever to withdraw Israeli forces from the West Bank because that would “inevitably” open the way for a PLO takeover. “anyone who wants successful negotiations must accept that, “Begin said. Sadat, for his part, has remained firm in his demand for total Israeli withdrawal and the creation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Begin said his plan for the West Bank would give “Palestinian Arabs administrative autonomy and Israeli Jews true security.” He then disclosed to the Knesset his 26 points based on immediate “self-rule” for West Bank and Gaza Arabs subject to “review” after five years.


His points were:

Abolition of the military government administrative autonomy” for the residents “by and for them”; election of an “administrative council” of It members; the right to vote for everyone aged 18 and over; anyone aged 25 or over eligible for election; direct secret ballot; the council to hold office for four years; the council to sit in Bethlehem; the council to have departments of education, religion, finance, transport, housing, industry, agriculture, health, labor and welfare, refugee rehabilitation; justice and police; security and public order in the areas will be the responsibility of the Israeli authorities.”

The council will elect its own chairman; the first council session will be held within 30 days after the election results are known; residents of the area will have the option of Israeli or Jordanian citizenship; those choosing Israeli citizenship will be entitled to vote for the Knesset; those choosing Jordanian citizenship will be entitled to vote for the Jordanian Parliament; questions arising on this point to be settled in direct negotiations between Israel and Jordan.

A committee composed of representatives of Israel, Jordan and the administrative council will examine existing legislation in Judaea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip and will determine what is to remain in force and what is to be abolished. It will also determine the competence of the council to legislate.

“The rulings of this committee will be adopted by unanimous decision.” Israelis will be entitled to buy land and settle in the areas; residents of the areas who choose Israeli citizenship will be entitled to buy land and settle in Israel.

Another tri-partite committee of Israel, Jordan and the administrative council will “determine norms of immigration into the areas of Judaea and Samaria and the Gaza district. The committee will determine the norms whereby Arab refugees residing outside Judaea, Samaria and Gaza will be permitted to immigrate into these areas in reasonable numbers. The rulings of the committee will be adopted by unanimous decision.”


Residents of Judaea, Samaria and Gaza “will be assured freedom of movement and freedom of economic activity in Israel, Judaea, Samaria and Gaza.” The council will appoint one member to represent it before the Israeli government and one member to represent it before the Jordanian government “for deliberations on matters of common interest.”

“Israel stands by its right and its claims of sovereignty to Judaea. Samaria and Gaza in the know- ledge that other claims exist. It proposes, for the sake of the agreement and of peace, that the question of sovereignty in the areas be left open.”

“With regard to the administration of the holy places in Jerusalem a special proposal will be drawn up and submitted that will include the guarantee of freedom of access to members of all faiths to the shrines holy to them. These principles shall be subject to review after five years.”


Begin said his plan for Sinai, which he showed to Carter and presented to Sadat, contained the following elements: demilitarization–“The Egyptian army will not move beyond the Gidi and Mitle passes.” The present limitation of forces agreement would continue to apply to Egyptian forces between the passes and the Suez Canal. Israeli settlements will remain where they are “tied to Israeli administration and jurisdiction and defended by an Israeli force.”

During a “transitional period of a number of years” Israeli forces would be stationed along “a defense line through the middle of Sinai” and Israeli airfields and early warning installations would continue to operate “until the withdrawal of our forces to the international border.”

Begin did not spell out the duration of the “transitional period” in his report to the Knesset. But he has said elsewhere that it would be from 3-5 years after which Israel would withdraw to the old international border that existed in 1948 and full sovereignty over Sinai would revert to Egypt. But Israeli settlements would continue to exist in Sinai.

Another element of the Sinai plan dealt with the Straits of Tiran. It specified that both sides would guarantee free passage of ships of all nations through that waterway and that the area would be policed, either by a United Nations force removable only with the consent of both sides and the unanimous vote of the UN Security Council or by a joint force of the two sides.

Meanwhile, the question of Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan’s whereabouts during yesterday’s Cabinet meeting remained unanswered today. He was present at the Knesset meeting but declined to answer any questions from reporters regarding his absence yesterday. Speculation in the press that he was abroad in any of several Mideast countries, including Jordan and Iran, could not be confirmed.

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