Menahem Begin – Irgun Commander

An interview Menachem Begin gave to the Herald Tribune in March 1947 and reprinted later for relevance to the formation of a provisional government in Israel. The IZL is prepared for a long and difficult struggle with the British. Though the IZL wants to end the policy of reprisals, it will continue the policy until its members are treated as combatants, even if it means hanging British soldiers if its own members are hanged. The IZL has had contact with Arabs in Palestine, though it has been limited. The IZL has plans to carry out attacks outside of Palestine. They do not favor but will not oppose the discussion of Palestine at the UN. The Soviet Union is against the idea of Jewish immigration to Israel from other countries but has a point in that some Jews seem to favor elements of British imperialism. The IZL is not Fascist because it is fighting for survival, is against totalitarianism, and is in favor of democracy and individual freedoms.

The Golan Heights Law

Begin’s statement at a government meeting proposing the annexation of the Golan Heights by Israel. Israeli law and sovereignty is to be fully applied to the Golan Heights. There is a law from 1967 relating to the territories of Eretz Israel, but that law does not apply to the Golan because it was part of the French Mandate for Syria. When Syria controlled the Golan it used the position to attack Israeli civilians. Israel has invited the rulers of Syria to negotiate peace, but Syria has refused to discuss peace. Syria’s Foreign Minister stated that the Arabs must wait until they are stronger than Israel. Assad stated that he would not recognize Israel even if the PLO were to do so. Syria’s actions mean that Israel’s response is not a breach of the Camp David Accords. Israel will face severe international protests over the annexation, but it is a matter of life and security, and so Israel must act in spite of those protests.

Issues and Answers

An extensive interview with Prime Minister Begin on “ABC” about the progress of peace talks with Egypt. Taking place months after the deadline for a full treaty, much of the interview deals with the deal’s effects on Egypt’s obligations to other Arab nations, Begin’s feelings of optimism about the talks and Israel’s key role as part of the free world in the Middle East.

No Quick Formula for M.E. Problems

In an interview, Begin discusses different topics regarding the peace process with Egypt and other Arab nations. Begin argues that self-determination does not mean independent statehood and Israel would not accept Palestinian statehood. He also says that although Palestinians will have free political activity, Israel will not allow an organization who wants Israel destroyed. Regarding which nations will have control over the West Bank and Gaza, Begin says that although the land belongs to the Jewish people, there are other claims. Begin strongly argues that settlement building in the West Bank and Sinai should not be viewed as detrimental to the peace talks. Begin says that the peace process is moving, and it’s important that there is patience. The last question was about Likud members voting against Begin’s peace plan. Begin responds by saying he was hurt, but will still pursue his plan.

PM Begin in an interview with Eric Breindel, Rolling Stone Magazine, Jerusalem

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Begin emphasized the need of an opposition in a democracy, and described the voting process to condemn the PLO’s invitation to the Geneva conference. Later, he discussed how the Holocaust shaped his national security view and how it affected mankind, and addressed his failure to reject the Reparations Agreement. He then responded to the claims that he was an ex-terrorist, stating that the fight for liberation and the underground’s military operations are not similar to the PLO’s acts of terrorism. Finally, he discussed the relationship between Israel and the Soviet Union over the years, as well as Herzl’s aim of ending anti-Semitism.