WASHINGTON (Mar. 27)
President Anwar Sadat of Egypt called on the U.S. Congress today to help Egypt become the bastion of “stability” in the Middle East and northern Africa Premier Menachem Begin of Israel, for his part, told Congress that Israel was the West’s stable and reficcle###lly in the region, by virtue of its democracy, and called an the U.S. to “be on your guard” against Soviet inspired assaults on liberty.
The Soviets, Begin said, stood behind the Arab rejectionist front. It was “no coincidence” that Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko was now in Damascus. Syria, lraq, Jordan and Saudi Arahia were part of a “front of hostility and enmity.” he said.
Both leaders appeared separately before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. But both meetings were open to members of the Senate and House, respectively, and many of them took the opportunity to pay tribute, by their prolonged standing ovations, to the two peacemakers.
“No citizen of our world is more respected or admired by the people of the United States than you,” House Majority Leader Jim Wright (D. te. as) told Sadat. And Minority Leader John Rhodes (R.Ariz.) called Begin a “bero of peaca in his welcoming words.
DIFFERENT CONCEPTS AND PRIORITIES
The reman’s by Begin and Sadat to the American lawmakers underlined how the two leaders, who agreed on peace, differ markedly in their conceptions of what peace entails and where their priorities lie. Begin urged the Congressmen not to doubt Israel’s resolve to pursue the peace process until it is at peace with all of its neighbors. But, he stressed, “security is life itself” for Israel. “There is a national consensus not to give up security.
Sadat, For his part, laid emphasis on the upcoming negotiations for Palestinian autonomy on the West Bank and Gaza Strip which he indicated was as important to Egypt as the treaty itself. He said he was “determined to give these negotiations every chance to succeed,” and that he was counting on the U.S. to exert a moderating influence on Israel’s positions because success of the autonomy plan was “a U.S. interest as much as ours.
Begin spoke of the terrorist bombings in Israel that followed the peace treaty signing, committed “those who want to tear the treaty to pieces.” Sadat declared that Egypt, like Israel, does not want to see Jerusalem divided again but insists on the rights of Mostems to the Arab part of Jerusalem and to the reassertion of Arab sovereignty there. He claimed that at Camp David “90 percent” of a formula for Jerusalem was agreed to.
Begin and Sadat exercised vigorous salesmanship to convince the Congressmen that each of their countries was America’s most valuable all, in the Middle East, most capable of protecting security and stability in the region and most worthy of U.S. support. “If you cooperate with us,” Sadat said, Egypt could be a military power able to act as a “deter rent” to outside intervention and could ensure stability.”
He said he was not proposing that the U.S. of Egypt be a “policeman” in the area but the fact is that many countries around Egypt are unable to defend themselves against foreign. “intervention.” and “we would like to help them.”
Begin was more specific as to what he regards as the principal external menace. He warned of recent Soviet-backed encroachments throughout the area and enumerated six countries–Angolo, Mozambique, South Yemen, Ethiopia, Cambodia and Vietnam–in which there had been a takeover by Soviet proxy” during the past two years, According to Begin, the Middle East all-producing countries could also become the “victims of this method-by-proxy. “He told his audience, “Please take into consideration, there are, and I say this not as a boast, but as an objective fact, that in Israel you have a real, stable, reliable all in the Middle East.
He drew laughter from the Senators when he observed that “there are three Israeli Prime Ministers sitting here–one that was, one that wanted to be and one that is.” Former Premier. Yitzhak Rabin and Labor Parry chairman Shimon Peres did not appear amused. No did Knesset Speaker Yitzhak Shamir ###in the mirth when Begin remarked on the severe heckling be received during the recent stormy meeting of the Knesset” when “the Speaker’s protection was not enough for me.”