Israel will not Sumbit Threats

posted on:
21 In feb 1978
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Arabs of Israel, Palestinians. States - Egypt. Greater Land of Israel , Peace - Interim Agreements, Peace, Peace Agreements, Peace Process with Egypt. Government - Knesset

DID PRESIDENT Sadat, before embarking on his journey to Jerusalem last November, know that his two ultimate demands were, and must inevitably be, totally unacceptable to Israel?  He did.

On 8 November 1977, the Egyptian President made a statement to his People's Council in Cairo in which he put forth his demands that Israel restore the demarcation lines of 4 June 1967, and acquiesce in the establishment of a "Palestinian" state in Judaea, Samaria (erroneously called the West Bank) and the Gaza Strip.  He then added, surprisingly, that he would be ready to come to Jerusalem to address the Knesset in order, as he explained it, to prevent one additional Egyptian soldier being killed or wounded.

On the following day, 9 November, I reacted to President Sadat's announcement in a statement that read: "Israel categorically and absolutely rejects the conditions named by President Sadat, i.e., total withdrawal to the June 1967 lines and the establishment of a so-called Palestinian state.  These terms, it is known, would constitute a danger to the very existence of the State of Israel.  However, President Sadat could put forward this position at the Geneva Conference, as we shall present our position at the peace conference.  Let no party turn its own stand into a prior condition for participating in the peace conference."

Ten days later, the President of Egypt came to Jerusalem and was accorded a respectful and cordial reception by the Government, the Parliament and the People of Israel.  He came in the full knowledge, conveyed to him through my public statement, that, while Israel accepts and proposes free negotiations without any prior conditions from either side, we do not and shall not bow to the two utterly unreasonable demands which, if acted upon, would place the Jewish state in mortal danger.

President Sadat decided to come.

It is asserted by some that his visit to Israel was an act of historic precedence.  But so, too, was the momentous reception he enjoyed, including the unfettered hospitality of the Knesset, where he met freely and individually with all of its parties.

In Jerusalem, President Sadat told me that, having been given the hospitality and the rostrum of the Knesset, it is my perfect right to expect the same from the Egyptian parliament in Cairo.  I still look forward to receiving a reciprocal invitation.