• Short Summary

    Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin has won approval from the Israel parliament, the Knesset, for his refusal to soften his Middle East peace plan, despite international pressure.

  • Description

    GV PAN INT: Knesset in Jerusalem.

    SV: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Speaking in Hebrew while Minister listen. (4 SHOTS)

    GV PAN FROM: Members To Labour Party leader Shimon Pears speaking in Hebrew.

    Mr Begin accused the Carter administration of changing its mind about the Israeli Peace plan, after it was rejected by Egypt. The United States now wanted a referendum to be held in the Israeli occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip in five years time to decide their future status. The idea was unacceptable to Mr Begin because, he said, it would inevitably lead to something the United States itself did not want..."the establishment of a Palestinian State". Mr Begin said that it must be remembered that "the threat and terror of the same murderous organisation (the Palestine Liberation Organisation) still exists". Despite his opposition to even limited referendum, Mr Begin said he had proposed that Palestinians on the West Bank, and in the Gaza Strip, should take part in determining their future. But he did not elaborate. Mr Begin said there was agreement with Israel on three points: (I) a settlement should lead to normal diplomatic, trade and other ties between Israel and its Arab neighbours; (II) opposition to a Palestine state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a threat to Israel and "the free world";(III) opposition to "the murderous PLO" taking part in peace negotiations. He said he was convinced the great friendship between Israel and the United States would overcome their differences on a peace settlement. Reports from Tel Aviv say that Israeli Defence Minister, General Ezer Wiezman, will leave for Cairo on Thursday (30 March) for talks with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and War Minister Mohammed Abdel-Ghani Camassi.

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin has won approval from the Israel parliament, the Knesset, for his refusal to soften his Middle East peace plan, despite international pressure. Although he was heckled by the Opposition as he reported on the outcome of his chilly talks last week in Washington with President Carter, the Knesset in Jerusalem on Wednesday (29 March), backed his stance by 64 votes to 32, with nine abstentions.

    SYNOPSIS: Before Wednesday's session, some observers said Mr Begin was fighting for two futures: his own and his governments.

    During his speech, which lasted 25 minutes, the Prime Minister re-affirmed there would be no change in Israel's proposals fro the West Bank of the River Jordan, or for Jewish settlements in occupied Arab territory. On his talks in Washington, Mr Begin said there were several points of agreement, but stressed he could not accept a United States' proposal for a referendum in the occupied territories, or the American view that Jewish settlement of occupied Arab territory was illegal.

    The Labour Party of Opposition leader Shimon Peres takes a much softer view on Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories, but Mr Begin, and his coalition government,received a comfortable majority.

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