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Begin Says He Would Personally Welcome Sadat to Jerusalem

November 11, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Premier Menachem Begin asked a group of visiting U.S. Congressmen today to convey to President Anwar Sadat of Egypt his satisfaction with Sadat’s assertion yesterday that he was prepared to go to Jerusalem to address the Knesset if that would further the cause of Middle East peace. Begin met this morning with 14 members of the House Armed Forces Committee, headed by its chairman, Rep. Melvin Price (D.III.), who will meet with Sadat in Cairo tomorrow.

“I ask you, Mr. Chairman,”Begin said, “to give my message to President Sadat to the effect that I welcome his statement. If he decides to come to Jerusalem we shall receive him with all honor due to a President. I will personally go out to Lydda Airport and we shall go together to Jerusalem to discuss peace.” Begin told reporters earlier that “President Sadat has said he is ready to come to the Knesset and I welcome this statement. I would like to remind him that when I came into this office I said I was willing to go any place including Cairo to conduct negotiations for a Middle East peace.”


However, Begin said he rejects Sadat’s demands for Israel’s complete withdrawal from occupied Arab territories and the creation of a Palestinian state. These conditions endanger Israel’s existence, the Premier said. He added, however, that “President Sadat can bring all his opinions to Geneva–as we will do with ours–but no side should turn its political opinions into preconditions for the Geneva peace conference.”

While observers here consider remote the likelihood of Sadat coming to Jerusalem to address the Knesset, they found “interesting” the Egyptian leader’s statement that Egypt “did not care about procedures” for reconvening the Geneva talks. The conflict over procedures, mainly the status of Palestinian representation, has been the main stumbling block in approaching the Geneva conference. Begin himself did not react to that part of Sadat’s statement, saying only that “time will tell what he meant.” He reiterated that Israel “will not agree to any substantial changes” in the U.S. -Israel working paper on Geneva procedures.

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