President Jimmy Carter Addresses Palestinian Rights

(January 4, 1978)


U.S. President Jimmy Carter made the following remarks after meeting Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat.


It is an honor and a pleasure for us to be in this great country, led by such a strong and courageous man.

Mr. President, your bold initiative in seeking peace has aroused theadmiration of the entire world. One of my most valued possession, is the warm, personal relationship which binds me and President Sadat together and which exemplifies the friendship and the common purpose of the people of Egypt and the people of the United States of America.

The Egyptian-Israeli peace initiative must succeed, while still guarding the sacred and historic principles held by the nations who have suffered much in this region. There is no good reason why accommodation cannot he reached.

In my own private discussions with both Arab and Israeli leaders, I have been deeply impressed by the unanimous desire for peace. My presence here today is a direct result of the courageous initiative which President Sadat undertook in his recent trip to Jerusalem. The negotiating process will continue in the near future. We fully support this effort, and we intend to play an active role in the work of the Political Committee of Cairo, which will soon reconvene in Jerusalem.

We believe that there arc certain principles, fundamentally, which must be observed before a just and a comprehensive peace can be achieved.

First, true peace must be based on normal relations among the parties to the peace. Peace means more than just an end to belligerency.

Second, there must be withdrawal by Israel from territories occupied in 1967 and agreement on secure and recognized borders for all parties in the context of normal and peaceful relations in accordance with U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338. Third, there must be a resolution of the Palestinian problem in all its aspects. The problem must recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and enable the Palestinians to participate in the determination of their own future.

Some flexibility is always needed to insure successful negotiations and the resolution of conflicting views. We know that the mark of greatness among leaders is to consider carefully the views of others and the greater benefits that can result among the people of all nations which can come from a successful search for peace.

Mr. President, our consultations this morning have reconfirmed our common commitment to the fundamentals which will, with God's help, make1978 the year for permanent peace in the Middle East.


Source: Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin, ed, The Israel-Arab Reader, (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2001)