Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Azf Leader Says Sadat Told Him His ‘primary Concern’ is the Completion of Camp David Process

March 2, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

— Rabbi Joseph Sternstein, president of the American Zionist Federation, says he was assured by President Anwar Sadat in Cairo last week that the Egyptian leader’s “primary concern” is “completion of the Camp David process” and “to eliminate the threat of war in the Middle East.”

Rabbi Sternstein told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that Sadat gave him those assurances in the course of a 90-minute private meeting at the Presidential Palace last Thursday. Sternstein, who visited Cairo after attending a meeting of the World Zionist Organization Executive in Jerusalem, said he believed the meeting was the first Sadat ever had with an American Zionist leader as such.

“I put to him two major concerns,” Sternstein said. “First, our feeling that the encouragement of the European initiative would in the long run serve only to bring the Russians into the picture. To this he assured me that he would make every effort to keep Russia out of involvement in a Middle East solution,” Sternstein said.

“Second, I put to him our puzzlement as to his proposal for a Palestinian government-in-exile. To this, he said that this will come ‘down the road.’ It is not his primary target which is completion of the Camp David process. In addition, he stressed that he was interested in including responsible Palestinian Arab leaders in order to avoid irresponsible acts of violence.” Sadat did not say who he had in mind, however, Sternstein said.

He noted that the meeting coincided almost to the day with the first anniversary of the presentation of credentials by the Israeli Ambassador to Egypt, Eliahu Ben-Elissar. Sadat “made the point that he feels one of his greatest accomplishments is the mutual determination (of Egypt and Israel) to eliminate the threat of war in the Middle East,” Sternstein said. “To that end he said he is ‘consecrated and dedicated’ and he repeated the phrase, ‘under no conditions will we go to war ever again.'”

Recommended from JTA