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Begin Insists Cabinet Statement Made No Changes in U.S. Proposal for Pan-arab Delegation at Geneva

September 30, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Premier Menachem Begin insisted today that Israel had made no changes in the American proposal for a pan-Arab delegation at the opening of the Geneva peace conference which the Cabinet accepted Sunday on his recommendation. Speaking during a tour of northern Sinai, Begin implied that Israel’s conditions for acceptance were incorporated in the American plan conveyed to the Cabinet by Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan from the U.S. He said Dayan transmitted the proposals verbatim and recommended approval.

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance indicated earlier this week that Israel had in fact inserted new conditions which had not been agreed upon by the U.S. But, Begin said, “We haven’t added anything and we haven’t dropped out anything.” He described Israel’s readiness to meet with an all-Arab delegation at the ceremonial opening session when the Geneva conference is reconvened as “a sign of flexibility.” He added that it was impossible to conduct negotiations with a joint delegation because they must be carried out separately with each of the Arab states.

Begin defended Israel’s presence in northern Sinai, citing as precedents annexations of land by Russia and Poland during World War II. But he claimed that at Geneva “everything is negotiable except the destruction of Israel.” He said he hoped the Geneva conference would be held before the end of the year.

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