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Sadat Blasts Zionism, Says Palestinians Must Be Included in Any Mideast Peace Settlement

October 28, 1975
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, opening a 10-day campaign for support from American political and economic leaders as well as the American people, today strongly attacked Zionism. Speaking at the National Press Club, Sadat also said that the Palestinians must be included in any Middle East settlement, but declared that normal relations between Israel and the Arab states must be left to the next generation.

He also called on the United States, which he said holds in “its hands more than 99 percent of the cards in this game,” to do its best to “fulfill another disengagement-between Syria and Israel similar to 1974” on the Golan Heights.

Sadat’s harshest attack during his press club appearance was on Zionism. Asked if his government equates Zionism with racism–and if not why did Egypt support the resolution in the United Nations Third Committee–Sadat sought to separate Jews from Zionists. “We have had Jews always in our country,” he said. “The Jews had the Arab economy in their hands until 1952. We did not complain. This Zionism issue has changed everything–really.”


The Egyptian President stressed his point by relating an incident he said happened to him. Stressing again that “all our economy was in Jewish hands,” Sadat said that in 1952 when he was returning to the army after seven years in prison he went to a store to buy a radio. “But the Jews there had received orders from Zionism in Israel,” he claimed. “I was denied a radio set to buy. All the dealers were in the hands of Jews. I was an officer in the army that fought Israel.”

Sadat said that “Zionism brought violence and hatred,” but reiterated that “We are not against Jews, we are against Zionism.” Then he did an almost about face when asked whether he would conclude and accept a peace treaty with a Zionist state. “Our acceptance of UN Resolution 242 means Israel is a fact,” Sadat said. He noted that after becoming President in 1971 he made an “official speech” in which he said “I am ready to conclude a peace agreement with Israel. This is history. I do not deny it.” He said he preferred a return to the Geneva conference as a means of achieving peace.

Sadat said he had a “marvelous” exchange with President Ford at the White House this morning. He said they discussed the question of American assistance for Egypt, but denied he brought a shopping list with him. Asked whether, if he was given American arms, he would pledge not to use them to fight or start a new war with Israel, Sadat said he would be using them “according to the United Nations Charter–that means for self-defense.”


When he was asked whether he would allow a National Press Club delegation to go directly from Cairo to Tel Aviv, Sadat implied he would not permit this. Expressing “my theory for peace,” he said, “I am ready for a peace agreement with Israel,” but added that regarding “normal relations” after 27 years of belligerency “you can’t say take a plane from Cairo to Israel. That would be open borders.”

Regarding Jerusalem, he said that “my idea” in that “no Arab, Moslem or Christian in the Arab world will agree at any time to Israeli sovereignty of Old Jerusalem. This will never happen at all. No one will agree to this.” He said by Old Jerusalem he meant not only the Arab sector, “but all of Old Jerusalem.”


Earlier today, Ford received Sadat will full military honors on the White House south lawn. The American Chief Executive, in his greeting, strongly implied that the U.S. will press for an Israeli-Syrian disengagement accord on the Golan Heights. Sadat, who has been under attack by Syria and the Palestinians and criticized by the Soviet Union for signing last August’s Sinai accord with Israel, responded to Ford by praising the Sinai agreement as a “great event” that stemmed from his talks with the American President in Salzburg, Austria last June.

Ford did not refer directly to a Golan pact but it was implicit in his words to the Egyptian leader that their talks here were “to assure that progress towards peace (In the Middle East) will not stop” and that “the process of peaceful negotiations between the Arab states and Israel must move to new fronts and new areas.”

Ford praised Sadat as a wise statesman who was helping ease tensions in the Mideast. He said a primary goal of the U.S. was to help bring a just peace for all countries in that region and a second objective was to build a mutually beneficial relationship with every country there.

Sadat responded by saying that “Since Salzburg, there have been great events and I must say that….what you have done and what you have strived for have made it possible for those great events to happen…in the most dangerous area of the world. We have come here with an open heart and open arms…and to thank you personally for what you have done last June which I consider to be a turning point in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.” Sadat invited President Ford to visit Egypt, promising that “My people will hail you for all your efforts, sincerity and honesty.”

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