Sadat’s Journey, 30 Years After

Anwar Sadat's peace overture in November 1977 shook away Israel’s siege mentality and gave psychological living space to an otherwise claustrophobic nation in the midst of a hostile Arab world. But the gate to Israeli-Arab reconciliation remains where it was always been – in the hands of the Palestinians.

TOLEDO -- If “one man of courage makes a majority,” as Andrew Jackson said, then 30 years ago, in November 1977, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was such a man. His peace overture to Israel stunned the Middle East. He had, as he put it, gone “to the end of the earth” (the Knesset in Jerusalem), and in doing so transformed the region’s politics beyond recognition.

From that moment, the question for the Arabs was no longer how to destroy Israel, but how to reach an accomodation with it. In his dramatic leap into the future, Sadat taught Arab leaders the realities of a changing world.

For Sadat’s peace overture was born out of a sober strategic analysis of the regional balance of power. It was clear to him that Israel was a nuclear power that, in October 1973, had once again proven itself to be unbeatable in a conventional war – a war Sadat himself had never expected to win when he launched it.

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