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May 30, 2007

Greenway's Fading Memory


H.D.S. Greenway takes a trip down memory lane, only his memories are faded around the edges. In a column in the International Herald Tribune today ("Dreams of Peace Fade") and the Boston Globe yesterday, he reminisces about the Egyptian-Israeli peace made three decades ago:

Israel did accept [peace with Egypt], and in those days it was hoped that a peace with Egypt would lead to an end to occupation for Palestinians. Sadat certainly hoped so. But Israel wasn't ready for that, and so another 30 years of occupation have followed with all the ensuing consquences.

But it was the Palestinians -- not the Israelis -- who thwarted 1977 negotiations for autonomy plans by way of PLO assassinations of any Palestinians suspected of working towards that goal. They include Hamdi Kadi, Salim al-Asmar, and Abdel-nur Khalil Janho.

Second, Greenway reverses the chronology of Egyptian-Israeli peace overtures, wrongly suggesting that it was Egypt that initiated. On November 9, 1977, Sadat made his famous speech to the Egyptian Parliament that he was prepared to travel to Jerusalem to make peace. Several months earlier, on June 20, 1977, Begin presented his government to the Knesset, including its "Basic Guidelines," which affirmed that Israel:

will invite Israel's neighbors, jointly and severally, either directly or through a friendly state, to conduct direct negotiations towards the signing of a peace treaty, without prior conditions on the part of anyone and without formulation of a solution drawn up from outside.

Of course, these inconvenient facts do not support Greenway's narrative that Israel is to blame for failed Mideast peace while "The Arabs are desperate to just get it done!"

Posted by TS at May 30, 2007 03:41 AM


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