– News for November 20, 1977 – CBS Radio News on the Hour + Charles Collingwood Commentary – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
November 20, 1977 – it was, for all intents and purposes, a historic day in the world. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and his entourage landed at Ben-Gurion Airport and were met by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin – it was a historic first, and it was quickly followed by another historic first – Sadat addressed a session of the Knesset.
Sadat publicly recognized Israel’s right to exist, but he coupled this historic concession Sunday with a renewed call for Israel to give up all occupied Arab lands and to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state. “We really and truly welcome you to live among us in peace and security,” Sadat told members of the Knesset and a worldwide television audience. “With all the international guarantees you have asked for, there should be no fear of a newborn state that needs the help of all the countries of the world for its establishment,” Sadat said. “When the bells of peace toll, there will be no hand to beat the drums of war. “And if any hand exists, its sound will not be heard, and you can imagine with me a peace agreement reached in Geneva that, we would joyfully herald to the world, which thirsts for peace.” In a generally hard-line reply, Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin said his country also wants “a full reconciliation” with its Arab neighbors, but he gave no indication that Israel would consider complete withdrawal, and he never mentioned the Palestinian situation.
Sadat at an evening dinner session, reportedly extended an invitation for Begin to visit Cairo. “Everything is open for negotiations with no preconditions,” Begin said. Sadat received a 20-second standing ovation from the 120 Knesset members as he entered the chamber. He spoke from a rostrum near a large photograph of Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, occasionally mopping his brow and chin.
“I have not come to you to seek a partial peace,” Sadat said. “This is not the radical solution that would steer us to permanent peace.” Begin also said Egypt and Israel should establish normal diplomatic relations, work together economically to develop the entire Middle East and open their borders to free movement. “We can make the deserts flourish,” he said, asserting that combined Jewish and Egyptian “genius” could produce a virtual paradise in the Middle East.
In other news – The National Women’s Conference endorsed abortion, sex education and lesbian rights Sunday night amid emotional appeals pro and con, sign waving and a burst of balloons emblazoned with the homosexual slogan: “We Are Everywhere.” Feminist proposals of “reproductive freedom” and “sexual preference” divided the 2,000 delegates more severely than any of the other previous proposals adopted by the historic conference including the Equal Rights Amendment.
The conference, which went on record favoring the Equal Rights Amendment Saturday, passed a long list of other feminist resolutions Sunday that would protect the rights of minority women, older women, rape victims, women law offenders and homemakers. THE VOTE on a resolution supporting minority rights prompted a floor demonstration of black, Indian, Eskimo, Hispanic and Asian women.
And that’s just a little of what happened, this November 20th in 1977 as presented by CBS Radio News On The Hour (and commentary by Charles Collingwood).