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Israel in Low Key Response to Sadat Remark on Jerusalem

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Israel offered a low key response today to President Anwar Sadat’s assertion that the Palestinian people have an eternal religious right to Jerusalem. An official communique issued directly after today’s Cabinet meeting, reminded the Egyptian leader that “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, one city, indivisible.”

Sadat’s remarks yesterday, in a message to the League of Arab and Islamic Nations, came on the eve of Jerusalem Day festivities here marking the 14th anniversary of the reunification of the city. It was discussed at the weekly Cabinet session at which the situation in Lebanon and the missile crisis with Syria were also on the agenda. Observers here were uncertain whether Sadat’s injection of the Jerusalem issue would cloud his meeting with Premier Menachem Begin at Sharm el-Sheikh on June 4.

The relatively mild reply indicated that Begin wants to avoid public polemics with Sadat at this time. The communique said: “In response to the statement and call of the President of the Arab Egyptian Republic, Mr. Anwar Sadat, concerning Jerusalem, the government of Israel states the following:

Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, one city, indivisible. Free access is assured to members of all religions to their holy places in accordance with the law of the land, since the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem.”

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