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The Pivotal Years: Israel and the Arab World 1966 - 1977

by Clifford Sobin

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On November 20, 1977, a plane touched down in Israel at Ben Gurion airport. Soon after its cabin door opened, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat appeared. Waiting below was an assemblage of Israeli political and military elite whose experiences and memories spanned the twenty-nine violent and uncertain years since Israel’s independence. For them that moment was filled with promise and wonder. The unprecedented arrival of an Egyptian President on Israeli soil declared to his own people that forever more he would recognize the existence of the Jewish State. And to Israelis and Egyptians alike, Sadat's speech scheduled for the next day at the Knesset, Israel’s legislative body, indicated his resolve to settle their differences, from then on, by force of argument rather than bloodshed. It was a message of peace that depended on the courage of one man willing to face the wrath of his people by signaling a new direction. But for Syria’s President, Hafez Assad, it was a nightmare that undermined his determination to recover the Golan by any means short of recognition and reconciliation with Israel. And for Yasser Arafat, it would force him to recalibrate his plans for creating a Palestinian state on Israel’s ashes.

Sadat's visit changed the region and the world forever by raising hope that the enmity between the Jewish State and her Arab neighbors would be resolved by negotiation. The principle in play seemed simple—land for peace. But which land, what type of peace, and how to navigate the dangerous shoals that lay between waging war and pursuing peace? Knowing the answers to those questions is a pre-requisite for understanding what has since ensued.

Contained within this volume, is the story of the pivotal years between 1966 and 1977, during which Israel and parts of the Arab World journeyed from confrontation and violence to a fragile, imperfect peace accompanied by new challenges and conflicts. It is a story told mostly through the eyes and words of the leaders and those they led. The pace of the story is driven by events: sometimes days, weeks, or months apart—and sometimes only separated by moments. It is a story of courage and fear, of struggle, of suspicion, and of self-interest. It is Israel’s story of endurance. It is Egypt’s story of redemption. It is Syria’s story of rejection, and Jordan’s story of survival. It is the story of a virulent Palestinian leadership growing in stature that used terror and cruelty for political purpose. And it is the story of the emergence of a settler movement with dreams of building new homes on ancient lands also claimed by others.

In 1966, it was almost impossible to envision a peaceful Middle East. In 1977, it was possible to hope. But until Anwar Sadat was willing, and able, to speak directly and publicly to Israel’s leaders, that hope came at the cost of countless lives and immense human tragedy. However, once Sadat did, the prospect of peaceful co-existence and mutual benefit between Egypt and Israel overcame the practices of the past. His visit started a process that culminated in three crucial agreements: the peace treaty signed by Israel and Egypt in 1979, the Oslo I accords signed by Israel and the PLO in 1993, and the peace treaty concluded in 1994 between King Hussein and Israel. Sadly, however, as of 2016, hope is fading, again overcome by hatred and intolerance. In 1977, the answer to violence was leadership. The same is true today if hope is to be restored.

Therefore, since leadership is the key to change, this book focuses on many powerful, influential people and how they impacted the Israeli-Arab relationship during the climactic eleven year period that began in 1966. They include four Israeli Prime Ministers, two Egyptian Presidents, one Syrian dictator, and a courageous but too hesitant Jordanian king. They also include a crafty Palestinian leader, two impassioned Israeli settlers, an astute American Secretary of State and four American Presid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pivotal Years: Israel and the Arab World 1966 - 1977 Clifford Sobin

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The Pivotal Years: Israel and the Arab World 1966 - 1977

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..of both nations in events unfolding in and across the Greater Middle East. 9 May 2016 ..developments concerning the Arab-Israeli dispute over the years335, Continuity and Change in Israeli Security Policy, Mark AYearinterests in the Middle East and operating as a pivotal U.Sa global scale; and the third that the Arab-Israeli confrontations were feeding ...1 Islamic Movements in the Arab World 1913-1966, ...economic growth and social problems; the 1966 difficulties (economic depression and external tensions). 2 Jun 2004 ..In 1973, his reaction plunged the Middle East into regional war

 

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