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Begin Advises the Eec to Steer Clear of the Mideast Peace Process

August 4, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Premier Menachem Begin advised the European Economic Community (EEC) to steer clear of the Middle East peace process and allow the Camp David procedure to develop unimpeded. At the same time he told Gosion Thorn, Foreign Minister of Luxembourg and chairman of the EEC who is heading the EEC’s Mideast fact-finding mission, with whom he met here last Friday, that any change in the negotiating procedure developed at Camp David was out of the question. Israel would not conduct talks about a settlement along the lines proposed by the EEC at their Venice summit last June, Begin said.

The Premier dismissed Thorn’s suggestion that the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the negotiations could be beneficial. Thorn was reiterating the Venice declaration which called for the PLO to be “associated” with the peace negotiations.

Referring to the anti-Israel resolution adopted last week by the United Nations General Assembly, Begin said: “This Assembly passed on ultimatum to Israel to withdraw from all the territories and Jerusalem by November 15. Another hundred dates such as this will pass — and Israel will not withdraw.” Thorn said after the meeting that his conversation with Begin had not produced any surprises. He noted that differences of opinion had emerged but he declined to spell them out.


The EEC’s policy also came under heavy fire by President Yitzhak Navon at his meeting with Thorn. He asked Thorn why the EEC first stated their view on the Mideast and only then decided to send a fact-finding mission to the area. It should have been the other way around, Navon said. Thorn responded that he had come to the area with an open mind and without preconceived nations on the Mideast problem. He said the EEC had no intention of harming Israel, but that it disagreed with its policies on the “occupied territories.”

Thorn said the framework of the negotiations set at the Camp David talks was facing difficulties. Therefore, the European countries wanted to check whether Israel was willing to enter an alternative channel of negotiations. Thorn said he also wanted to learn whether Israel was willing to evacuate any territories occupied in 1967.

The President said some 90 percent of Israel’s citizens did not regard the 1967 borders as safe. The EEC could not declare at the same time that Israel should withdraw to the 1967 borders and that Israel was entitled to secure boundaries, Navon said Even President Anwar Sadat declared that he agreed to certain changes in the 1967 borders, Navon said. He asked Thorn why the European leaders did not seem to appreciate the tangible concessions made by Begin at Camp David, nor the sacrifices Israel continues to make for peace.


(In Washington, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last Thursday that the EEC nations are engaged in “dangerous escapism” in trying to solve the Mideast crisis by appeasing such groups as the PLO. “The prevailing theory is that the PLO would become more moderate after its demands are satisfied,” he said. “I see no evidence for this. Indeed, all the evidence is to the contrary.” He added that “our European allies must learn that when they push schemes incapable of realization they encourage radicalism and guarantee stalemate.”)

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