Carter Pledges to Bring the Palestinians into Negotiations
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Carter Pledges to Bring the Palestinians into Negotiations

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President Carter gave his personal commitment yesterday to bring the Palestinians into the negotiations with Israel and attacked-those opposing the initiatives for an Egyptian-Israeli peace.

In his address to the Parliament, on his last scheduled day in Cairo where he has been seeking Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s agreement for resolution of the remaining differences with Israel to reach a treaty between them, Carter declared, “We are ready to work with any who are willing to talk peace, “including” representative Palestinians.”

He was applauded when he spoke of the Palestinians, but his reference to an Arab peace effort with Israel was heard in silence.

“Those who attack these efforts are opposing the only realistic process that can bring real peace to the Middle East, “Carter said in his prepared address. “Let no one be deceived. The effect of their slogans and their rhetoric is to make them, in reality, advocates of the status quo, not of change, of war, not of peace, of further suffering, not of achieving the human dignity to which long suffering people of this region are entitled.”

The President did not name the opponents of the Egyptian-Israeli effort and Sadat personally for having gone to Jerusalem in November 1977. But it was clear to the Parliamentarians who gave him a rousing welcome that he was referring to the “rejectionists” that amount to all the Arab governments and the Palestine Liberation Organization that had met in Baghdad and framed an all-out propaganda drive against the Camp David accords in general and the Egyptian-Israeli effort in particular.


In leading into his specific support of the Palestinians to have a role in the negotiations, Carter said that “there can be little doubt” that the two agreements reached at Camp David ” are related and that a comprehensive peace remains a common objective.” He was referring to the frameworks hammered out at Camp David last September by Sadat, Israeli Premier Menachem Begin and himself.

Saying that a treaty between Egypt and Israel is the “indispensable first step toward a comprehensive peace,” the President added: “I pledge to you today that I also remain personally committed to move on to negotiations concerning the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and other issues of concern to the Palestinians–and to future negotiations with the other neighbors of Israel.”

“I feel a personal obligation in this regard,” he said without elaborating on the “other issues of concern to the Palestinians.” However, he has heartened the Palestinians early in his Administration by declaring at Clinton, Mass, that they should have a “homeland.”

Continuing his address to the Parliament, Carter declared: “Only the path of negotiation and accommodation can lead to the fulfillment of the hopes of the Palestinian people for peaceful self-expression. The negotiations proposed in the Camp David agreements will provide them with an opportunity to participate in the determination of their own future. We urge representative Palestinians to take part in those negotiations.”

The President concluded his address by quoting from the Koran, the Bible and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. From the Testament, he quoted: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. From the Sermon, he quoted: “My friends–my brothers–let us complete the work before us.” From the Koran, he quoted: “If thine adversary incline towards peace, do thou also incline towards, and trust in God; for He is the one that heareth and knoweth all things.”


Although Carter had been contending in various ways in the past two weeks that the differences between Egypt and Israel are “insignificant,” he acknowledged in his farewell speech to Sadat yesterday that “difficult issues still remain to be resolved” and Sadat agreed with him, thus seeming to contradict his own statement Friday. In that statement, Sadat said “There are no obstacles” to a treaty with Israel, “only misunderstanding on the main issues.” He also said “We can have an agreement” because “there is only a word here and there” hindering it.

Carter’s remarks in Cairo, particularly those in the Parliament, seemed to place him further in moral support of the Palestinians than at any previous time. His words also appeared drafted to put psychological pressure on Israel and in form the world that is watching this Middle East drama closely that a burden to make peace rests principally on Israel.

This tactic appeared to be put for word despite the fact that Israel accepted the American treaty proposed last October and additional proposals last weekend that the Carter Administration suggested, while Egypt has not approved either the draft treaty nor the additional suggestions. The implication of Carter’s remarks on the Palestinians seems to be that Israel must continue to be forthcoming on Palestinian autonomy to help both Sadat’s standing with Arab governments and to persuade Palestinians to reconsider their objections to the Camp David accords.

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