Monday, April 22, 2019

Arab Writers – Sadat was Right

 ( With thanks to MEMRI

Against the backdrop of U.S. President Trump's March 25, 2019 recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan, and the 40th anniversary of the peace accords between Israel and Egypt, the Arab press, and especially the Egyptian press, published articles criticizing the Arabs' and Palestinians' handling of the conflict with Israel. The writers argued that the "all or nothing" attitude to the conflict, which has led the Arabs and Palestinians to reject every proposed solution, has caused a steady erosion in the proposals presented to them, while allowing Israel to consolidate its control of the occupied territories. They added that the U.S. recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan proved the wisdom of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat's decision to make peace with Israel and thereby regain Sinai, as opposed to the folly of the peace rejectionists, whose obstinacy has left the Golan and Jerusalem in Israeli hands.

a) Ahmad Al-Tawwab, a columnist for the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, (Mar 25th 2019) criticized the Arabs and Palestinians for rejecting every proposed solution to the conflict with Israel out of a misguided belief that, by digging in, they will eventually get the best possible deal. He wrote: "We must reassess the bizarre belief that has prevailed for many years among many Arab politicians and intellectuals, especially Palestinian ones. Opportunities were missed and better alternatives failed to materialize, each subsequent solution offered was worse than the one before”

b) Fatah member and former Palestinian Authority (PA) minister Nabil 'Amr made similar statements in his column in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (Mar 30th 2019). He wrote: "Seven decades after the Arabs and Palestinians rejected the [1947] Partition Plan, the question is whether they were right or wrong in doing so. There are different answers. Those in favor of 'all or nothing' still think that rejecting [the plan] was the right decision. But those who believe in agreements and in the principle of 'saving what can be saved' consider this a bitter mistake that led to losses and no gain. The past is past and talking about it will not change it

c) Egyptian author and journalist Salah Montasser wrote in his column in the government daily Al-Ahram (April 1st 2019): "When Anwar Sadat felt, in late 1977, that the effects of the [1973] war were evaporating, he initiated the peace agreement with Israel. Before making his historic visit to Jerusalem, he visited Damascus and offered [then-]president Hafez Assad to join him in making peace, as he had joined him in making war. But Hafez Assad, as well as [Iraqi president] Saddam [Hussein], [PLO leader Yasser] Arafat, and [Libyan president Muammar [Qaddafi] attacked Sadat's [initiative], and he had to choose between appeasing the rejectionist Arabs or carrying on alone. At the time Egypt was accused of excluding itself from the Arab-Israeli conflict, and these accusations are still being heard today... as though the Arabs were doomed to wage endless war and could not seize an opportunity [to end it], [an opportunity that came] before Israel had built any settlement

d) Nashwa Al-Hofi, a columnist for Egypt's Al-Watan daily (Mar 24th 2019), wrote: "Sadat... attained a victory for my country that restored [its] honor, humiliated Israel and ended its arrogance... He restored Sinai, whereas the other Arab territories we are currently demanding have not been restored. He regained the territory thanks to his foresight... He triumphed over the pen-pushers who do nothing but sit in air-conditioned offices and reject [every proposal] out of ignorance, narcissism or lack of vision. He fought calmly and patiently, insisting that Egypt's flag fly over all of its territory...

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