Sadat Showed How to Solve the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The writer is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984.

Times of Israel (May 7):

  • Many of us Arabs deny Jewish history, while the more charitable among us concede that Jews have their own narrative and we have ours. But history is factual and verifiable, and “narrative” is just a polite word for “myth.” The fact that so many Palestinians live in camps and remain stateless and vulnerable is a huge tragedy, but we created the Palestinian tragedy by trying to deny the rights of Jews.
  • Being Lebanese, I am particularly ashamed of Lebanon’s role in the conflict. We allowed the PLO and then Hizbullah to attack Israel and terrorize and kill its citizens. Then we had the audacity to claim victimhood when Israel’s citizens ran out of patience and responded with force. The deplorable way that we treat Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon only adds to my shame.
  • Our latest big lie is that Israel is stealing our land in the West Bank. The reality is that the West Bank is Judea and Samaria for the Jews, and they build on that land because they love the Land of Israel.
  • We are mostly responsible for creating and maintaining the Arab-Israeli conflict. To resolve it, there is no need to deny history, to claim (as we Arabs commonly do) that Jews are a foreign nation imposed on us. Instead we must start by recognizing that Jews have as much right to be in the Middle East as we do. To resolve the Palestinian problem we have to recognize that our denial of Jewish history is the root of that problem.
  • In the Arab-Israeli conflict, one side has always initiated conflict, and the other side has always been on the defensive. One side has been intolerant and hateful, and the other side has been inclusive and ethical. One side has promoted war, and the other side has always been ready for peace. You know which side is which.
  • The message I am delivering here is essentially the same one delivered by former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat 38 years ago. Sadat did not go to Israel to grovel; he went to show that he respected Israel’s right to exist, and that he was willing to leave behind the hatred and the violence. As a result, he was able to sign a peace deal with Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

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