Sadat Becomes the First Arab Leader to Visit Israel (Great Events from History II: Human Rights Series)
Article abstract: All efforts to resolve the conflict between Israel and Arab states had foundered on Arab refusal of face-to-face negotiations until Sadat decided that a dramatic gesture of reconciliation was necessary.
Summary of Event
The Arab states had opposed the creation of the Jewish state of Israel in 1948. They continued to accuse Zionist Israel of having seized Palestinian Arab land and of being an instrument of the West in the oil-rich Middle East. The Arab-Israeli wars of 1948, 1956, and 1967 had increased the fear and hatred on both sides and inflicted particularly heavy human and material damage on Egypt. The Arab peoples had experienced severe humiliation at the hands of Israel in the 1967 war, which lasted only six days and resulted in the occupation of Egypt’s Sinai, Syria’s Golan Heights, and that part of the original Palestinian mandate still occupied by Arabs, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza. Hatred between Arabs and Jews was intensified by ignorance and prejudice and inflamed by propaganda. The 3 million Israelis of widely different cultural backgrounds felt isolated in a sea of 100 million hostile Arabs. The common, officially encouraged view of Arabs was that they were all backward, unreliable, and determined to push Israel into the sea. The Arab view of Israelis was equally stereotypical: All Israelis were arrogant, money-grubbing, and expansionist. Egyptians were forbidden to...
(The entire section is 2307 words.)
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