WASHINGTON (Jan. 10)
The John F. Kennedy Lodge of B’nai B’rith awarded plaques to President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin in recognition of their achievements for peace in the Middle East. They were the first non-American recipients since the awards were established in 1965, a year after the JFK Lodge was founded in memory of President Kennedy by members of his administration.
The plaques were accepted on behalf of the two leaders by Egyptian Ambassador Ashraf Ghorbat and Israel Ambassador Ephraim Evron at a program Tuesday night at Or Kodesh Congregation in suburban Maryland, attended by 700 people. Former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg was the principal speaker. A telegram of congratulations was received from Sen. Edward Kennedy (D.Mass.), brother of the late President.
SEES BEGINNING OF NEW ERA
Ghorbal referred in his remarks to the impending exchange of Ambassadors between Egypt and Israel next month. “We thus witness the ushering in of a new era of real peace as well as peaceful relations between Egypt and Israel, “he said. He called the exchange of Ambassadors “the culminating point so far” in Egyptian-Israeli relations. “Let it be a point of departure for a better and more profound understanding of each other, let it be me beginning of a new effort to achieve peace between Israel and all of its neighbors,” Ghorbal said.
However, he added, “No peace can be really achieved in the Middle East without satisfying the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. They have, as any other people in the world–as Israel, as Egypt, as others–the right to enjoy freedom, independence and a bright future Let us help them exercise a full and genuine autonomy on the West Bank and Gaza as a first step toward realization of their ultimate objective–self-determination.”
A TURNING POINT IN MIDEAST HISTORY
Responding, Evron expressed confidence that the Egyptian-Israeli treaty has opened the door to a new era in the Middle East. He said he had no doubt that the treaty is only the beginning of a process to which other Arab countries will adhere. He called it a turning point in the history of the region which has been torn by war for decodes.
Apparently in reference to Ghorbal’s statement about self-determination for the Palestinians, Evron observed that one of the most important elements of the peace-making is to scrupulously observe all the clauses of the Egyptian-Israeli treaty. Evron said that “self-determination” is not an issue and is not mentioned in the peace treaty. He said that what is an issue is the formulation of the autonomy arrangements for the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza.