Prime Minister Menachem Begin today turned his wrath on Europe and the Common Market's call for a Palestinian homeland, but he also had kind words for President Carter, whose recent espousal of a homeland has brought the issue to the forefront.
"Europe, that continent which from Brest in the East to Brest in the West is drenched with Jewish blood," Begin, referring to cities in the Soviet Union and France, said in an address to the Jewish Agency assembly. "They should know better."
Begin called upon the governments and the people of Europe to reconsider and said, "We cannot, we never will, acquiesce in putting into danger the life, the very existence of the remnants of the Jewish people whom we have concentrated in the land of our forefathers."
In the same speech Begin "respectfully and gratefully" acknowledged President Carter's conciliatory words at his press conference in Washington today. Carter called the preservation of an independent Israel "an overwhelming consideration" of U.S. policy.
[The Associated Press reported that Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan met with U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis for talks that Lewis said "cleared the air" about statements from Washington on territorial concessions that annoyed the Israelis.]
Begin said he hopes he and Carter will find a "common language" when Begin visits America next month.
"If there be a difference of opinion on certain issues none of us will ever suspect the other of an ulterior motive." Begin said. "We shall speak as friends."
But his bitter remarks against the Common Market decision showed the depth of his opposition to a Palestinian homeland, a concept that President Carter favors, as well as his memories, never far below the surface, of the Hitler holocaust that makes such a strong claim on his emotions.
The speech was vintage Begin - full of thrust and cut with a strong emphasis on emotion and the justness of his cause - an indication that it may be very difficult to convince him that there is any justice in a Palestinian cause.
The strong condemnation of the Common Market decision came as something of a surprise because earlier in the day the Israeli Foreign Ministry had decided not to react offically to the decision - taking the line that the Europeans were not and should not be a party to the Middle East dispute, and that to react would add undue weight to their decision.
"Begin quoted Czechoslovakia's late Jan Masaryk as saying, "I know little about oil pipelines but I do know from my own experience something about the endless pipeline of Jewish blood," Begin said. "Indeed, the stream of Jewish blood in Europe is deeper than the Rhine and the Danube and the Vistula and the Dnieper."