June 9, 2013

Why Does History Repeat Itself?

“The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” [Friedrich Hegel] 

New documents released Sunday by Israel’s state archives show that several months before the 1973 Yom Kippur War, then-Israeli prime minister Golda Meir used West German diplomatic channels to offer Egypt most of the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for peace. Israel's proposal was bluntly rejected (see below). 

As you read the piece below, note similarities to events unfolding today in the Middle East.

In 1967, for example, Egypt’s President Nasser expelled UN peacekeepers stationed in the Sinai and Gaza Strip, and began amassing Egyptian troops in the Sinai Peninsula on Israel's border. Two weeks later, the Six Day War broke out. Something to keep in mind today, as we see Austrian (and other) UN peacekeeping forces withdraw from the Golan Heights on the Israel-Syria border. [Although truth be told, there was always something very creepy about having Austrian troops on Israel’s border...]

Another similarity is the following quote:

“The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy, which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear - to wipe Israel off the map.” [President Aref of Iraq, May 31, 1967] 

Sound familiar? If not, check out the latest & greatest declarations of President Ahmadinejad and the loony Mullahs of Iran.

Bottom line is the Arab world is insatiable, and appeasement never works, not with them or with anyone else.

So why does history repeat itself? Well, as someone very wise once said: "It's because no one was listening the first time!"

Times of Israel  |  June 9, 2013

Golda Meir Offered Egypt Most Of Sinai For Peace Before 1973 War

New documents show Israel's proposal, conveyed via West German channels months before the Yom Kippur War, was bluntly rejected

By Gavriel Fiske

Golda Meir.jpg
Golda Meir (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Several months before the 1973 Yom Kippur War, then-Israeli prime minister Golda Meir used West German diplomatic channels to offer Egypt most of the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for peace, according to documents released Sunday by the state archives.

During a series of meetings with West German chancellor Willy Brandt, who was making a historic visit to Israel in early June 1973, Meir offered ”to meet with them (the Egyptians) for the first personal contact, anywhere, any time and at any level” and asked Brandt to convey to the Egyptians her desire to meet as well as Israel’s willingness to cede most of the Sinai in a peace treaty with Egypt.

Israel captured the peninsula from Egypt in the 1967 Six Day War. According to the records, Meir was not willing to return completely to the 1967 lines in the event of a handover.

“He can tell Sadat that he, Brandt, is convinced that we truly want peace. That we don’t want all of Sinai, or half of Sinai, or the major part of Sinai. Brandt can make it clear to Sadat that we do not request that he begin negotiations in public, and that we are prepared to begin secret negotiations, etc.,” Meir said in a later meeting.

Golda Meir & Willy Brandt.jpg

West German diplomatic personnel later met in Cairo with Hafiz Ismail, a close adviser to Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, and relayed the Israeli proposal, which Ismail reportedly rejected bluntly.

As long as Israel was not willing to return completely to the 1967 lines, there was no point in negotiations, he reportedly said, adding that there would be no “talks about talks.” Ismail, during the meeting, held forth about world indifference to the situation in the Arab world and said that ”from now on, the Arabs’ fate is in their own hands.”

Several months later Egypt and Syria launched the Yom Kippur War, in October 1973, on Judaism’s holiest day, catching Israel by surprise. Egypt made great initial gains in the Sinai, which were subsequently turned around by an Israeli counteroffensive before a truce was declared.

Israel retained possession of the Sinai, but later, in 1978, Egypt entered into a deal resembling Meir’s proposal as a result of the Camp David Accords, and over the next few years the entire Sinai was returned to Egypt.

The release by the state archives revealed many more details of chancellor Brandt’s visit, which took place against the fallout of the 1972 Munich Massacre. The archives note that Brandt was lukewarm about West Germany acting as an intermediary between Israel and Egypt, and sent a relatively low-level diplomatic agent to Egypt to convey Meir’s offer.

The documents also revealed that Israel had tried on at least two previous occasions to use a European country as an intermediary to jump-start negotiations with the Egyptians, but to no avail.

Original article here.


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