A few days before his Afpak speech, the president celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Israel/Egypt peace agreement. “As we commemorate this historic event, we recall that peace is always possible even in the face of seemingly intractable conflicts,” he said. And then, referring to his own intentions, he continued:
The success…demonstrated that progress results from sustained efforts at communication and cooperation…we honor the courage and foresight of these leaders…as we seek to expand the circle of peace among Arabs and Israelis, we take inspiration from what Israel and Egypt achieved three decades ago, knowing that the destination is worthy of the struggle.
But that’s not how it happened. Not at all.
First, Egypt was decisively defeated by Israel on the battlefield, convincing Anwar Sadat that there was no possibility of wiping out Israel, and that any attempt to do it would be disastrous for his country. Second, both the United States and the Soviet Union started designing a “peace” deal, and Sadat didn’t like the prospect of a renewed Soviet role in the region. He was even prepared to talk directly to the Israelis. So he went to Jerusalem.
Thus, contrary to Obama’s reconstruction of events in the 1970s, the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was the result of an Israeli victory on the battlefield. ...
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