Tough Speech by Sadat Stirs Concern in Israel

There is some concern in Jerusalem at the content of a major speech to the Egyptian Parliament by President Anwar Sadat last Thursday night. Israeli analysts point to a tougher line taken by Sadat vis-a-vis Israel and the United States and–equally worrisome–a very broad hint thrown out by the Egyptian leader to Moscow.

Sadat said Cairo would be ready to “rebuild its bridges” with Moscow if the Soviets honored their pledges of aid to the Arab states and if they ceased supporting Arab radical states against Egypt. This is the first time since the interim Sinai agreement last September, observers here note, that Sadat has allowed a more positive tone on the Soviets to creep into a public address.

He flayed at the Americans for slowing the pace of Mideast peace-making and cited them, by implication, as Syria’s allies in hounding the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon Sadat was especially tough in his assault on President Hafez Assad of Syria over the Lebanon issue–returning in full measure Assad’s own strictures delivered in a speech earlier last week.

EGYPT’S POLICY ASSESSED

The two speeches were analyzed in depth by officials and army intelligence men at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. The consensus, according to informed sources, was that the Sadat address presages no immediate threat of a change in policy.

Nevertheless, the markedly changed tone has kindled cautionary lights in Jerusalem. With the Sinai interim agreement now approaching its first anniversary–and its first renewal date–Israel is watching carefully to detect any sign of backtracking on Egypt’s part as a result of the Lebanese imbroglio.

The Sinai agreement resulted in Egypt’s alignment with the U.S. while Syria was backed by the Soviets in opposing the American-orchestrated pact. But the Lebanese war has shaken up that alignment to some extent, and observers here are anxious lest the repercussions of the inter-Arab feuding over Lebanon could affect Egypt’s policy towards the Sinai agreement and towards the U.S. as the prime Mideast peacemaking force.

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