Proceedings from the PWPA Colloquium on the Sadat Peace Initiative: A Scholarly Appraisal Ten Years Later

Proceedings from the PWPA Colloquium on the Sadat Peace Initiative: A Scholarly Appraisal Ten Years Later

Proceedings from the PWPA Colloquium on the Sadat Peace Initiative: A Scholarly Appraisal Ten Years Later

Proceedings from the PWPA Colloquium on the Sadat Peace Initiative: A Scholarly Appraisal Ten Years Later

Excerpt

by Moursi Saad El Din

• • Former Chairman, State Information Service

• • Former Egyptian Government Spokesman for Peace Negotiations, Cairo, Jerusalem, Camp David

• • Editor-in-Chief, Cairo Today magazine

• • Secretary-General, Egypt Chapter, P.E.N. International

Only great men are capable of great decisions. President Anwar El Sadat was a great man and his peace initiative was, probably, the greatest decision a statesman could have taken. His decision to break the deadlock which had lasted for over thirty years, to telescope the aftermath of war years and to make his trip to Jerusalem, was a step unprecedented in the history of mankind. With whatever canons one may judge him, friendly or antagonistic, whatever one may feel about him, there is a fact that no one can deny. He was a history maker, possibly the last of the history makers.

Many explanations have been given for Sadat's peace initiative. Some said he did it as a result of economic pressure. Others claimed that he had taken it to please the Americans and the West generally, while yet others explained the initiative in pragmatic terms, saying that he could see no possibility of a clear win over Israel so he decided to go for peace. There may be an element of truth in each of these explanations, besides his real desire to put a stop to the loss of human lives.

But there is, I believe, a much deeper reason for Sadat's peace initiative. He was really and truly a man of peace. In many ways he was like a philosopher trying a new theory, finding out whether it would work. He almost shouted "Eureka" when he discovered that his theory came to fruition. A state of peace, precarious as it might be, now exists between Egypt, the leading Arab country, and Israel, the arch-enemy of the Arabs for many years.

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