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Main Issues to Be Raised with Carter During His Israel Visit

March 9, 1979
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American guarantees for a peace treaty, the possibility of U.S. bases in Sinai, military and economic assistance, and guarantees of Israel’s oil needs will be the main issues to be raised with President Carter during his visit here beginning Saturday night, informed sources said today. They based their judgement on-remarks made by Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan yesterday at a briefing for the foreign diplomatic corps.

Premier Menachem Begin, who returned from the U.S. today, immediately began consultations with key Cabinet ministers and advisors to work out Israel’s position on these and other matters for his talks with the President. Dayan referred to American guarantees for the implementation of a peace treaty with Egypt. The U.S. reportedly agreed in principle but details remain to be worked out.

Similarly, Carter reportedly promised to increase the level of military assistance to Israel and advance the delivery date of certain weapons that previously had been earmarked for Iron. But, again, details have to be worked out. Israel is demanding guarantees that it will be able to purchase. Sinai oil at prevailing market prices and wants the U.S. to assure its oil supply.

Dayan gave the impression that these points are amenable to relatively easy agreement The major issues to be clarified with Egypt are the review of security arrangements after a treaty is signed, the priority of obligations, linkage, the exchange of ambassadors, and a joint interpretive letter on a “target date” for implementation of autonomy on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The new American proposals presented by Carter to Begin last Sunday reportedly covered these points in a way found acceptable by Israel. But some political observers here expressed fear today that the Egyptians may raise new difficulties. The atmosphere in Jerusalem on the eve of Carters visit was described as cautious optimism.”


Begin said on his arrival today that he had heard that Egypt wants to modify the American proposals. “If we find that the Egyptian suggestions present an erosion in the U.S. proposals, we shall have to reject them, “he said. Begin said he had sent a cable to Carter in Cairo wishing him success in his talks with President Anwar Sadat because Carter’s “success will also be ours.” The Premier said that he will report tomorrow to the Cabinet on his talks with Carter, as well as to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee.

Meanwhile, Begin’s press spokesman, Dan Pattir, who returned from Washington last night, claimed that Begin’s refusal to budge from his positions during his talks with Carter was-responsible for the American change of attitude demonstrated by Carter’s new proposals. According to Pattir, Begin had great success in convincing the American media and public that Israel has gone as for as it can toward peace and the rest is up to Egypt.

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