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Eban Tells Chicago Jewish Leaders That Sadat Did Not Come to Israel ‘to Make Things Easier for Us’

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Nearly 1,000 men and women, all Chicago Jewish leaders, pledged gifts which brought the 1978 Jewish United Fund-Israel Emergency Campaign (JUF) to $9.485 million, after hearing Abba Eban, Israel’s former Foreign Minister, caution that President Anwar Sadat of Egypt “did not come to Israel to make things easier for us. ” He said Sadat “brings us nearer the moment of truth, the negotiating hour.” Eban added: “Now it is time for Israel to determine the permissible limits of peace.”

The Israeli diplomat spoke at a special gifts dinner Monday night at Chicago’s Palmer House. The dinner was chaired by Edgar L. Cadden, 1978 JUF general chairman, and Alexander S. Knopfler, special gifts chairman.

Eban noted that “without Egypt, the Arab world cannot make war; without Egypt, the Arab world cannot make peace. ” He stressed that “only by reason of Egypt’s strength do Arabs have power and voice. We must decide–do we want peace, or do we want Arab unity?”

Continuing, Eban declared: “The peace slogan should not be ‘unanimity,’ but ‘leadership,’ because Arab unity in the past has been the formula for war, whereas every forward movement for peace from 1949 on has stemmed from individual Egyptian initiative. If peace with all Arab states is possible, there is nothing wrong with peace with one Arab state.”

1978 IS YEAR OF DECISION

Eban emphasized that the main obstacle to peace has always been “in the view of our neighbors, Israel is a symptom of discontinuity–there was no provision for non-Arab sovereignty” in the Middle East. He said 1978 “will be the year of decision,” adding, “We must make a total effort in that, the decisive year–the crucial year. ” He said “there are many storms ahead and we must ask the Jewish people everywhere for their solidarity with Israel.”

Cadden warned that “if this campaign is inadequate, we create hardships for today and tomorrow.” He said “our fund-raising achievements in the past 30 years are unequalled and we must take care of our task. To give less is unconscionable. To give the same is really to give less.”

James P. Rice, JUF executive vice-president, and Knopfler were hosts at a press conference yesterday morning. Eban acknowledged that the policies of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger set the stage for the Cairo initiative. “The disengagement pacts of 1973-74 were the bridge from war to peace in the Middle East,” he said.

But he warned that the Cairo conference would fail until both the Arabs and Israel were willing to compromise on the West Bank. “I don’t think Israel and Egypt can reach agreement without the principle of regarding the West Bank territory as negotiable,” Eban said. He added that he was confident that Premier Menachem Begin would moderate his stand against giving up any of Judaea and Samaria.

Eban also stressed that a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt “is almost equal to a total settlement because the momentum thus generated would make it very difficult for other Arabs not to join.”

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