Moshe Arens, chairman of the Israel parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee, said yesterday that Israel will not withdraw its military forces from the occupied West Bank and suggested that present peace efforts are doomed unless Egyptiam President Anwar Sadat comes to a greater understanding of Israel's security problems.
The American-educated parliamentary leader, in the United State on a 16-day trip to counteract the impact of Sadat's recent visit gave a pessimistic assessment of the prospects of the negotiatios in an interview with Washington Post editors. Arens, who is considered a major figure on the hawkish side of Prime Minister Menachem Begin's Likud Party, questioned whether Begin has gone too far in Sinai concessions in an effort to promote a bi-lateral peace agreement with Egypt.
"My impression is that Begin thought he could strike a deal with Sadat. He went very far, in the opinion of some, too far . . . Sadat took the Sadat compromise, put in his pocket and said he would not suffer the airbase and settlement (in Sinai) but that the whole thing wasn't important because is the Palestine question." Arens said.
"Sadat is not in position to negotiate or conclude anything about the Palestine so here we are directing ourselves straight into an impossible sitution."
Sadat is seeking a declaration of principles from Israel that envisions Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank of the Jordan River and a form of self-determination for Palestinians. In Sadat's view, such principles would be a major step toward comprehensive negotiations involving Jordan and perhaps other Arab states and groups.
"Israel is not going withdraw its military presence from the West Bank," Arens said. "That would be signing our own death warrant . . . If that is going to be a basis of a settlement, that's no settlement."
Arens said he saw no possibility that bilateral or muliteral guarantees of Israeli security by the United States or others could be a credible substitute for holding onto strategic territory.
Regarding the U.S. policy, Arens said the essential difference with Israel is about the degree of acceptable risk in a peace agreement. "The Carter administration today thinks that if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders and certain arrangements are made about warning stations and maybe some United Nations troops, this is within the realm of a reasonable risk. Israel feels this is beyond the level of reasonable risk," he said.
He said this, rather than Israeli en claves in occupied Arab territory, is the main problem between Washington and Jerusalem.
Arens repeatedly expressed disappoint that Sadat did not show greater appreciation for Israel's view of its security requirements, saying that this is essential to compromise. He called Sadat a ruler who has "changed directions radically many, many times on many types of issues."
He said might turned back toward a war option if the United States supplies Etypt with F5E warplanes with sophisticated electronic gear and advanced air-launched missiles. Such a supply of warplanes, now being contentplated by the Carter administration, would bring a change in the military equation in the Middle East and be "very difficult for Israel," Arens said.