Egyptian President Anwar Sadat appealed yesterday to Americans "to expert your influence" on Israel to prevent his peace venture from suffocating in "rhetoric and futile argumentation."
His nation "has already fulfilled its share of the bargain" to obtain peace through its offer to Israel "to accept them fully and without any reservation as an independent entity in our midst," Sadat said in a major address here.
Instead of reciprocating, Sadat protested, "the Israeli position is hardening, rather than softening," drifting "back into the vicious circle of arguing over every single word orcomma. They are resorting, again, to the old tactics and worn-out ideas."
The severity of Sadat's criticism of Israel in a televised National Press Club address was balanced, however, by what diplomats regarded as his more significant message: the grappling search for peace through diplomacy will continue.
"It is true that I am rather disappointed," Sadat said, "but I am determined to persevere."
"I am willing," Sadat said, "to give the experiment every possible chance, until I reach the conclusion that enough time has elapsed without achieving any tangible progress. I am not going to rush to this conclusion, but the other side has to demonstrate the same spirit."
President Carter and senior members of his administration, in meetings with influential members of Congress Sunday night and yesterday, spread word that they were encouraged by Sadat's attitude in the privacy of Camp David over the weekend.
Sadat was described on the administration side as "a little bit frustrated, but genuinely committed to reasonable solutions." The next stage in overcoming the current Egyptian-Israeli negotiating stalemate is the resumption, in about 10 days, of shuttle diplomacy between Jersualem and Cairo by Assistant Secretary of State Alfred L. Atherton Jr., following talks here with Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan.
As evidence of support for Sadat, the administration is expected to ask Congress shortly to supply Egypt with about 50 F5E jet fighter planes, and possibly other aid, a departure from the previous practice of selling Egypt only "non-lethal" equipment.
Sadat said in response to questions at the National Press Club that "I shall not use whatever I receive against Israel, because I told you I have chosen my fate . . . with peace."
Israel's strong supporters in Congress are highly concerned, however, that more advanced Amercian aircraft for Saudi Arabia, Egypt's supporter, will amount to reinforcements for Egypt.
No significant departures from Sadat's basic position on peace terms with Israel were contained in his public address yesterday. But it was the first time that an American television audience has heard Sadat's version of his terms, since his sensational "impossible mission" to Jerusalem in November, as he buoyantly characterizes it.
Sadat was speaking as much to the outside world, including his bitter Arab adversaries, as he was to American yesterday. He gave his adversaries no grounds to charge him with deviating from his maximum demands in the negotiations.
"I did not go to Jerusalem to strike a deal," he said, "but to make peace."
Although Sadat is known to have been urged by the Carter administration to pursue negotiations with Israel by making counteroffers to its proposals, he portrayed himself as caught in haggling by those "unable to grasp the great significance" of what he already has offered.
Worst of all, Sadat charged, Israel has gone backward, not forward. He said that by "establishing more illegal settlements and expanding the existing ones in Arab land." Israel has engaged in an"act of sheer defiance and escalation."
Israel, he said, must agree to "withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied since June 1967, in conformity with the principle of inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war." In adudtion, he said, Israel must enable "the Palestinian people to exercise their natural right to self-determination."
Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin's proposal to permit local "self-rule" to Arab Palestinians on the West Bank of the Jordan River and in the Gaza Strip, with a continued Israeli military presence, "is simply inadequate," Sadat said.
Instead, he said, "a Palestinian state, linked with Jordan, will be a postive force of stability and normalcy in the area." Israel is adamantly opposed to a Palestinian state, for fear it will become a source of subversion under the rule of the Palestine Liberation Organization, directly threatening Israel's existence.
Sadat, who is also at sharp odds with the PLO, made no mention of that group. Instead, he said that anypeace treaty which fails to recognize the rights of "the Palestinians" is headed for disaster, "an open invitation to renewed violence and unrest."
Similarly, he said, the Israelis have based their refusal to return former Arab-occupied East Jerusalem "on false arguments." Sadat said "what is needed is coexistence within an open city."
When asked in the question period if he would agree to the internationalization of Jerusalem, Sadat said only if there is "internationalization of the whole city, east and west," to protect the holy places of Moslems, Christians and Jews. He said "let us not divide the city again." Israel says the same, but with equal access to it and no surrender of East Jerusalem.*