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: Human Rights
Begin addressed the halting of settlement construction for the duration of the Palestinian negotiations in an interview shortly after the Camp David Accords were signed, noting a difference of opinion with the US government on the matter. Begin outlined the autonomy plan’s fundamental elements and defended the morality of Judea and Samaria’s settlements, expressing a wish to end military authority in the region. Later, Begin considered the prospect of negotiating a peace treaty with Jordan and other Arab countries, saying that Egyptian-Israeli relations and the Palestinian Arabs’ solution are not interwoven.
Subsequently, Begin emphasized his desire to follow in the footsteps of Camp David and use the US government’s aid in drafting a peace pact. He proposed providing facilities for the US navy in the Mediterranean and establishing US bases in Sinai, but denied the conception of stationing US soldiers in Judea and Samaria so that Israel could defend itself independently against its surrounding enemies. However, he noted that Israel sought military assistance from the US in order to do so, acknowledging Israel’s contribution to US national security. Begin went on to discuss his Camp David experiences, his impressions of Carter as a negotiator, and the sticking points in the negotiations over the legal status of Jerusalem.
First, we worked out a detailed proposal for the complete administrative autonomy of the Palestinian Arabs in Judea, and Samaria and the Gaza district. The administration of the Military Government will be abolished. The residents will, themselves, elect their own Administrative Council in a democratic, secret ballot. The departments of the Administrative Council will deal … Continued
In his opening remarks at a White House ceremony, Begin focuses on democracy, future for peace, and the strong relationship between the U.S. and Israel. Begin mentions the successful liberation of Zion, as well as the gruesome Holocaust. Because of Jewish history, Begin says that he badly wants peace because “peace is inseparable from national security.” He continues to say that national security directly relates to the life every person in Israel. Begin shifts to talk about the shrinking of democracy in the world and that it is crucial for free people to unite. He appreciates Jimmy Carter’s kind words about him and the Israeli Government, specifically referencing to Vietnamese refugees. Begin immediately compares the Vietnamese refugees to Jews who were unsuccessful in seeking refuge during the Holocaust. Lastly, in addition to inviting Carter to Jerusalem, he says that the U.S. and Israel ” shall never disagree; we may only agree to differ.”
A reprinting of a chapter from Begin’s book, THE REVOLT, which appeared as part of a series of reprints of Begin’s book in the New York Post. Begin describes how the King David Hotel was the fortified center of British power in Mandatory Palestine and how striking it would prove to them that it was indeed possible to fight against the powerful British Empire. The Haganah approved the attack on the hotel. The Etzel did not want to cause any cause any casualties in the attack, especially civilian casualties. To that end they set off a warning fire cracker and called several locations, including the hotel, giving warnings about the bombs and instructions to evacuate. Though plenty of time to evacuate was given, the British forces refused to evacuate and many people, including civilians, were killed. Begin and the Irgun were distraught at the needless death and struggled to understand why the British refused to save their own lives or the lives of the civilians by evacuating.