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Sartre Completes Visit in Israel; Finds Strong Desire for Peace

March 30, 1967
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Jean Paul Sartre, the French existentialist philosopher and Nobel Prize winner, summed up for the press here today his reaction to a month-long visit to the Middle East with the assertion that he had found a wide and deep Israeli desire for peace with the Arabs. He avoided newsmen’s questions on how that Israeli sentiment compared with Egyptian opinion.

The philosopher, who met today with Premier Levi Eshkol and who plans to leave for Paris tomorrow, said no solution to the Arab-Israel conflict could be found unless “the preambles of both sides are accepted.” He has been meeting with a wide range of Israeli personalities during the past two weeks.

He added that the “preambles” were Israel’s demand that the Arab states recognize Israel’s existence and sovereignty and the Arab demand that all Palestinian Arab refugees be entitled to return to their former homes in what is now Israel. He declared that no solution to the Arab-Israel conflict was likely as long as both claims were not fully accepted.

Refusal by both sides to accept the preamble of the other caused tension and fear of war, he said, adding that while he had found slight progress in relations between Israel and the Arab states, he saw “as yet no favorable signs of peace.”

The French philosopher canceled a scheduled meeting with Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin as well as visits to a number of military installations. Though he did not give a reason for his action, it was believed that it was motivated by a desire to demonstrate his “anti-militarism.”

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