The following is an edited, unofficial text of the address by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to the Israeli Knesset.
Mr. President of the Knesset, permit me first of all to extend my special thanks for giving me this opportunity so that I may address you.
As I start my address, I would like to say: May the peace and the mercy of God be upon you, and may peace be for us, God willing.
May peace be for us, all of us in the Arab land, and in all the corners of this great globe . . .
I have come to you today . . . in order that we may build a new life and in order that we may establish peace for all of us on this earth . . . We all worship God and the commandments of God, and the principles of God are all true and pure and they mean peace.
. . . When I decided to visit your Knesset and I declared that to all the world, I can understand that many received my decision with surprise and were stunned. Some people thought that my decision was just a maneuver [to win over] world opinion. Others described it as a political tactic to conceal my intentions to wage a new war.
It's no secret that one of my aides in the presidential office asked me in concern at a late hour at night, after I returned from the People's Assembly, 'What would you do if Israel extends an invitation to you?'
I answered him most quietly that I would accept it at once. I had declared that I was ready to go to the remote corners of the globe -- to go to Israel -- because I would like to put forward the full and complete facts to the people of Israel.
I can understand those who were stunned by that decision, or who felt skeptical about the intentions behind it, because nobody could believe that the president of the biggest Arab country - that shoulders the greatest responsibility and burden in the question of war and peace in the Middle East - would make a decision that he would be ready to go to the enemy's land where we are still in a state of war. We are still, you and us, we are still suffering from the effects of the four wars that took place in the last 30 years.
But I would like to tell you frankly and in all honesty that I reached this decision after long thought. I know it's a great risk but almighty God has decided that my destiny is to shoulder responsibility of my people and take part in the responsibility to the destiny of the Arab nation.
So my greatest duty is to try all means in trying to avoid the dangers of destructive wars that may befall my people and the Arab people.
I have said that I want to keep wars, destructive wars, from besetting the Arab world. So I proclaim before you that I have the same feeling, and shoulder the same responsibility, for every man on earth and, for sure, toward the Israeli people.
The spirit that may be lost in war is that of man. Now whether he was an Arab or an Israeli, the wife who becomes a widow and who loses a husband is a human being and has a right to live happily - whether she is an Arab or an Israeli. The innocent children who lose their parent's love are all our children - whether on Arab land or in Israeli land . . . for all that, I have decided to come to you, despite all the risks, to tell you my thoughts directly.
I have borne and I am shouldering the requirements of the historical responsibility. That's why I proclaimed before, many years ago, on the 4th of February 1971, that I'm ready to enter into a peace agreement with Israel.
This was the first proclamation [of its kind] from an Arab leader since the beginning of the Arab-Israeli conflict . . . I proclaimed in 1973, before the People's Assembly in Egypt, the call for an international peace conference, and peace that is just and durable.
At that time, I wasn't in a position to beg for peace, but I only wanted a cessation of fire. All this . . . was followed by the two disengagement truces in Sinai, and we had to knock on all the doors, those open and those closed, to find a path toward a lasting and a just peace.
First of all, I have come to you with my clear and honest answer to this momentous question so that the people in Israel may hear it and so that the whole people in all corners of the globe may hear it too. And all those whose sincere prayers reach my ear. Those prayers are full of hope that these hopes may be achieved at the end of this historical meeting.
Before I may proclaim my answer, I would like to assure you that I rely in this clear and frank answer on certain inescapable facts.
The first fact: There is no happiness for anybody at the expense of other people, or when the misery happens to other people.
The second fact: I am not going to talk in two lingos. I am not going to deal with two policies. I am going to use one lingo, I am going to use one policy, I am going to use one face in dealing with this.
The third fact: That direct meetings as you know, are the most direct way.
The fourth: The call for lasting and durable peace, based on respect for the resolutions of the United Nations, has become today the call of all the globe and has become an expression of the will of the world.
The fifth fact - which is the most conspicuous and the most clear of them: The Arab nation doesn't move in its attempts to establish a lasting and just peace from a position of weakness, but on the contrary it has the factors of strength and stability. It emanates from a cultural awareness that in order to avoid an imminent catastrophe, we and you and the whole world have to establish a lasting and durable peace.
There is no alternative . . .
In addition to this . . . frankly I would like to tell you the following: I have not come to you to conclude a bilateral . . . agreement between Egypt and Israel. The problem is not that of Egypt and Israel because any peace between any . . . of the confrontation countries and Israel will not be conducive to the establishment of a lasting and durable peace in all the region.
Moreover, even if peace takes place between all the confrontation countries - without a just solution for the Palestinian problem, this will not achieve at all the establishment of a durable and lasting peace which all the world is seeking most urgently today.
I have not come to you, secondly, to seek a partial peace - that is, to put an end the state of war or belligerency at this stage and then throw the whole problem to another future stage. This is not the right solution that will lead us to the permanent peace.
What's more, I would like to tell you that I have not come to you for a step-by-step disengagement in the West Bank and the Golan and Sinai, because this means that we are only putting off the explosion to a future time.
It also means that we lack the courage necessary to face peace, and this would mean that we are too weak to bear the responsibilities of the lasting and just peace.
I have come to you in order that we may build together the lasting and just peace, in order that no drop of blood may be shed on either party. And here I come back to answer that momentous question: How can we achieve the lasting and durable peace?
My view, and I have proclaimed that to all people on earth, is that the answer is not impossible and hard - despite the fact that many years have led to vengeance and bitterness, and that whole generations have been brought up on complete hatred and enmity.
The answer is not impossible or hard if we follow the straight line in all honesty and good faith.
You would like to live with us in this region of the world, and I tell you in all honesty that we welcome you among us in security and peace.
This constitutes an important juncture in the history of the world.
We had been rejecting you and we had our reasons for that.Yes, we refused to meet you in any part of the world. Yes, we described you as alleged Israel. Yes, we were members of international conferences and our representatives . . . still don't exchange greetings. Yes, this happened and is still happening.
We required a mediator . . . for any negotiations. Yes, this happened in the first and second disengagement negotiations, and our representatives met in the first Geneva conference without exchanging a direct word. Yes, this happened.
But I wish to tell you today, and I proclaim to the whole world: We agree to live with you in a lasting and just peace. And we don't want to surround you, or you surround us, with destructive missiles or those missiles of hatred and vengeance.
We had a big and high wall between us and you for about a quarter of a century that you tried to build. But this wall was destroyed in 1973. This wall was made up by psychological warfare - a wall of consternation and fear - that we are a nation that has become a total corpse, and a lifeless corpse.
It was said also that even in 50 years, the Arab will not rise again. This wall was always threatening to reach my position and any region. This wall that you established was always warning us of total annihilation if we used our right to liberate our land. We have to admit together that this wall has collapsed.
But another wall may remain. This wall consists of a complicated psychological barrier between us and you - a barrier of skepticism, of revulsion, of the fear of deceitfulness, of delusions about any action or decision that's to be taken. A wall of misinterpretations of any speech or any event.
This psychological wall, as I said in formal statements, constitutes 70 per cent of the problem.
I would like to ask you today by visiting you. Why don't we extend our hands in honesty and sincerity and good faith so that we may pull down this barrier? Why don't our wills unify in all honesty and sincerity to remove all forms of fear and deceitfulness, and the concealment of true intentions . . .
But peace will not be properly peace, in the proper sense of the word, unless it's based on justice and not on the occupation of the lands of other people.
You cannot ask for yourselves what you would't give to other people. And in all honesty, and with the spirit which has led me to come to you today, let me tell tell you that you have to get rid completely of all the treacherous dreams and the belief that force is the best way to deal with the Arabs . . .
It will be of no avail. And in order to talk clearly, I would like to tell you that our land will not be lost. Our national hope for us is Holy, exactly as the land of Moses, and we will not give up one inch of it. We will not accept any principle of argument and compromise for it.
What is peace for Israel? Is it to live in the region with its Arab neighbors in peace and security? This logic I approve. Is it for Israel to live within its borders secure from any attack? I say yes.
Is it that Israel get all kinds of safeguards? I would say yes. We even proclaim that we accept all international safeguards that you can conceive of, and that we accept all the safeguards from the two superpowers, or from one of them, or from the five major powers, or from the five major powers, or from some of them.
I proclaim most clearly that we will accept any safeguards, because in turn, we have the same safeguards.
In essence, when we ask: What is peace for Israel? The answer is that Israel would live in its borders with Arab neighbors in peace and security, and within the framework of all that it would require of safeguards which the other party would get too.
But how we can achieve this? How can we reach these results in order that they may lead us to a lasting and permanent peace.
There are facts that we should tackle in the courage and with all clarity. There is Arab land that Israel occupied - and is occupying - by military force.
We insists on the total withdrawal from this land, including Arab Jerusalem. Arab Jerusalem, that I came to, the city of peace, which had been and will always be the embodiment of the coexistance between the believers, those from the three religions - it's not acceptable that anybody will think of Jerusalem in terms of annexation of expansion. It has to be a free and an open city for all believers.
This city should not be separated from those who have decided to stay in it for many centuries . . .The Islamic and Moslem shrines are not only for prayers but they embody our existence, our continuous existence, in this place politically, spiritually and intellectually. Hence, nobody should underestimate the importance and respect we have for Jerusalem - we, the Christians and the Moslems.
And let me tell you without any hesitation that I did not come to you, under this dome, in order to beg you to withdraw your forces from the occupied land.
The total withdrawal from the occupied Arab land . . .is an obvious matter that cannot be compromised. We are not going to beg anyone for it.
We will not accept any talk about lasting and durable peace, and there will be no significance for any steps to make a deal in this region of the world - peacefully and securely - while you are occupying Arab land with military force.
There will be no lasting peace with occupation of our land. This is a self-evident fact that cannot be questioned if there is good faith and the intention to establish a lasting and durable peace - for our generations and for the generations to follow.
As for the Palestinian question, nobody denies that it's the essence of the problem as a whole. Any nobody today in the whole world accepts muterings and slogans here in Israel avoiding and the Palestinian people, and asking: What are Palestinian people?
The legitimate rights of Palestine today is a question that cannot be ignored by anybody, or denied by anybody.
It is a clear fact that the whole world, East and West, has received with support and recognized in international declarations and conferences. Nobody can lend a deaf to them, and nobody can close his eyes and not see these facts.
Even the United States of America, which is your first ally - which shoulders the maximum commitment to protect Israel and its security, which has provided and is still providing to Israel the moral and material and military support - I would say, even the United States has decided to face reality and to recognize the Palestinians' legitimate rights and that the Palestinian problem is the essence and core of the struggle.
So long as this problem is not solved, the conflict will increase . . .to new dimensions. So in all honesty, I would like to tell you that peace cannot be realized without the Palestinians. It would be a grave mistake . . .to ignore or overlook this question, or set it aside.
I am not going to go into the historical events, back 60 years, about the Balfour Declaration because you know all the facts.
If you have found legal justification and the moral justification to establish a national homeland in the land that was not all your own, you have to understand the insistance of the people of Palestine to re-establish their state on their own land.
Those extremists who say that the Palestinians should give up this noble goal - this would mean that we are calling on the Palestinians to give up their identities and all for the future.
I welcome Israeli voices tha call for the recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people in order to obtain peace and secure it, and safeguard it.
Therefore, I would like to tell you ladies and gentlemen, that there is no use not recognizing the Palestinian people and their own right in establishing their homelands, and their rights of return.
The way to achieve a just and lasting peace is that the Palestinian state should be established, and you shouldn't be afraid at all because you will have all the international safeguards.
You shouldn't be afraid of a new-born nation that needs all the support of the world. When the bills of peace are there, there will be no drums of war, and nobody will listen to these drums.
Let me give a call from this rostrum to the people of Israel.
Men, women and children of Israel, I tell you that I carry to you from the people of Egypt, which blesses this holy messages for the sake of peace I convey to you, the call for peace - the message of peace from our people, who don't know prejudice, where all people, whether they're Moslem, Christians or Jews, live in a spirit of love and peace.
This is the holy message that I convey from my people, a message for peace and security.
So, to you all. to every man, to every woman, to every child in Israel, may all the efforts be directed to building a stronghold for peace instead of having the sophiscated weapons used to destroy man's hope for peace.
May we give an example to our generation so that man may work for peace in every part. Give to your children the good news that bygones are bygones, and what is to come is a new beginning for a new life, a life of love and good and freedom and peace.
And you, the sad mother, and you, sad wives, and for the sons who lost their fathers, to all you - all victims of wars - fill earth and fill the skies withprayers for peace.
Make peace a reality.
Before I came here, with every beat of my heart and every fiber of my entity, I prayed to God most ardently. When I visited Al Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, I prayed and beseeched God that this visit may achieve a desired effect so that all may live in peace.
I have decided to go away from all precedents known by all peoples and despite tha fact that the occupation of Arab lands continues, there was no other alternative.
I decided to come to you and give this push to all the international efforts toward the establishment of peace. I have chosen to present to you all the facts, as they are, away from any maneuvers and away from any desire to win of our own.
May we win together the most momentous battle in modern history - that of a peace that's lasting and just.