Barbara Walters interviews Prime Minister Begin on “ABC” about the progress of the peace process with Egypt, the meaning of Palestinian Arab autonomy, reactions to the Iranian hostage crisis and the Olympic Games in Moscow. He closes with how he wishes to be remembered.
Subjects: Cold War
A television interview for ABC News. After he is elected but before he assumes office Begin already faces disagreements with the Carter Administration, with Clark and Seamans asking about those disagreements and his commitment to peace. Carter says Israel should withdraw from nearly all of the territories captured in 1967 while Begin says Judea and Samaria are integral and permanent part of Israel and there is existential danger in giving them up. Begin insists he is willing to negotiate peace with all Arab countries but not the PLO. When challenged over possibly losing American economic and military aid Begin counters that the relationship with America is mutually beneficial. Israel is keeping Communism out of the Middle East, Begin says.
A speech Begin gave at the Knesset to commemorate the USA’s 200th anniversary. The American Revolution was a turning point in world history. Those who fight for freedom and justice do not believe in force, but they are still able to overcome the many and the strong through their moral values. Two hundred years later America is the most powerful nation and the primary force for freedom in the world. Begin asks that the US Ambassador to Israel move to Jerusalem permanently, and that America recognize and treat Israel as an ally like Israel recognizes and treats America. Israel knows all America has done to protect freedom around the world and throughout history, especially in World War Two. Begin also expresses admiration of the American Jewish community, the most powerful Diaspora Jewish community in nearly 2,000 years. Begin hopes that America will continue to protect the free world in the years to come.
An op-ed Begin wrote for the Jerusalem Post. Yasser Arafat is a frequent visitor and patron to the Soviet Union. He not only means to destroy Israel, but if he gets a state it is guaranteed to become a Soviet base in the Middle East, with a steady supply of airlifted modern arms from the USSR. This would be an existential threat to Israel, but it would also be a threat to the free world to have a Soviet base in such a strategically important region. No matter who Israel gives the land to, if it pulls out of Judea and Samaria the Arafat State and the Soviet base would result. Israel needs to make the west, especially the USA, understand the danger a Palestinian State would pose to them in addition to Israel. And the Jews and Israel have every right to the land of Israel.
An interview Begin gave to Israeli reporter Gideon Lev-Ari during the American “reassessment” of 1975. Begin notes the change in the Arab world’s stated demands from the total destruction of Israel to a withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, but says that the Arab goal of destroying Israel has not changed, only the rhetoric. Begin says there must be a full end to hostilities, followed by direct peace negotiations. Then Israel must give the ‘Arabs of Eretz Israel’ (Begin’s term for the Arabs known as Palestinians living in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria) full cultural autonomy and the option of Israeli citizenship but not national autonomy. The Israel-US relationship will continue to survive disagreements between the two countries. Israel must learn from the Munich agreement not to give in when it is threatened by its enemies and pressured to give in by its friends. In the end, peace will come