Breaking an Arab taboo

On this day in 1977, Egypt President Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to make an official visit to Israel. A look at the trip

Nobel prize novelty
In his speech at Knesset, the Israeli parliament, Sadat said, “We really and truly welcome you to live among us in peace and security.” Talks started in Israel and eventually led to the Camp David Accords in 1979

Egypt became the first Arab nation to recognise Israel. Jordan and the Palestinian Authority followed suit later. Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachim Begin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978. While Sadat’s peace moves made him popular in the West, he was isolated and snubbed in the Arab world, the BBC said

In October 1981, Sadat was assassinated by soldiers at an annual military parade in Cairo. Many celebrated his death in the Arab world. Tripoli radio said every tyrant has an end, as thousands took to the streets in jubilation

Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organisation did not condemn the assassination
We were expecting this end of President Sadat because we are sure he was against the interests of his people, the Arab nations and the Palestinian people
The BBC quoted a PLO official as saying

From terror to a peace treaty
Begin was the leader of Irgun which attacked the British and Arabs. Irgun even fought the Israeli army until Begin accepted David Ben Gurion’s leadership. He became PM in 1977.


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