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.

PM Begin in an Interview with Barbara Walters and Walter Cronkite

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.

Signing of the Camp David Accords

[President Carter] worked. As far as my historic experience is concerned, I think that he worked harder than our forefathers did in Egypt building the pyramids.

Signing of the Camp David Accords

A press conference on the occasion of the signing of the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt. President Jimmy Carter spoke first, followed by remarks by President Anwar Sadat and Prime Minister Menahem Begin and the signing itself. Begin spoke of the great work done by all parties and his personal friendship with Sadat.