My Plan for Peace
Such was our peace proposal. When it was first presented last December it was greeted in this great country and elsewhere with words of praise and with a most positive general reaction. Indeed, as the President said publicly, the Israeli peace plan represented "a long step forward." The Secretary of State declared it to be "a notable contribution" to peace.
It is with deep sorrow that I have to tell you that, at a certain moment in recent weeks, those good words of the past suddenly disappeared from the lexicon. Nobody mentioned them any more because, seemingly, there was objection from the other side. Can such an objection to a plan that had been publicly and positively appreciated be enough to turn right into wrong? Flexibility into inflexibility? Fair into unfair? Indeed, fairness and justice demand a different posture and, from this rostrum, today, I appeal to American fairness—now.
When I remember the Jerusalem and Ismailia meetings, I recall good days for President Sadat and for myself, for the Egyptian people and the Israeli people, and for peace. We greeted each other. During our productive talks we became friends. We said so to each other, privately and publicly. We did not hide our differences of opinion. On the contrary, we acknowledged them, we announced them. But—and this is the all-important point—the overriding spirit of those meetings was one of goodwill, of openness, of understanding. How did President Sadat sum up our two frank and friendly meetings? He said: "We shall discuss our problems. We shall negotiate the Israeli proposal and an Egyptian counter-proposal."
Then, suddenly, something happened. Names—bad names—were thrown into the arena. I am not impressed by name-calling, perhaps because I'm used to it. But when it besmirches the dignity of our people—well, we shall always defend that dignity. For too long has the Jewish people been vilified and humiliated. No more.
I sometimes hear the term—"Arab pride." I respect it. When it comes to ourselves, I prefer to speak of Jewish human dignity. We shall guard that dignity always and everywhere.
Allow me to conclude with this thought, or call, if you wish. Let us renew the spirit of the Jerusalem and the Ismailia meetings.
I believe that, if there is a revival of the spirit of Jerusalem and Ismailia on the one hand, and the renewal of American understanding for the Israeli peace plan on the other, our common goal will be achieved. Peace will finally come to that famous area, which is historically called the cradle of civilisation.