"No more wars, no more bloodshed and no more threats". This was Prime Minister Menachem Begin's appeal to the Egyptian people, broadcast two days after the unexpected declaration by President Sadat of Egypt that he was willing to go to the Knesset in Jerusalem to present the Arab case in order to prevent another war between Egypt and Israel; "Believe me, no more war. I am a man of my word" said President Sadat to Israeli Defence Minister Ezer Weizman when they met during the historic visit to Jerusalem which followed.
These are two of the dramatic moments of the human story behind the diplomatic moves and political considerations involved in Sadat's decision to go to Jerusalem. His visit, which changed the face of the Middle East, led eventually to the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in March 1979 and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the states. This month, as Egypt is playing a major role in diplomatic developments in our area, and its relations with Israel are being tested, we mark the 35th anniversary of Sadat's visit. The Israel State Archives presents a selection of 42 documents shedding light on Sadat's decision and the visit itself. The documents include information about the peace negotiations initiated by the US, Israel's secret contacts with Egypt, the reaction of the Israeli government to Sadat's plan to visit Jerusalem, the visit itself, the impressions of the participants and the beginning of the peace negotiations.
The documents include records of Cabinet meetings and a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, summaries of discussions, reports by the Mossad (the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations) on Foreign Minister Dayan's meetings in Morocco with Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Hassan Tuhami in October and December 1977 and correspondence between the leaders of Israel, Egypt and the US etc. Some of the documents have been specially declassified for the purpose of the publication. For the first time, the Archives is presenting an expanded English version, with an English introduction, list of documents and English translations or equivalent versions of many of the documents.
The publication consists of seven parts:
A. The peace policy of the new Israeli government
Prime Minister Begin's speech presenting the government to the Knesset
B. Talks with the Americans on the Geneva Conference
The government's discussion on the peace plan, Begin's meeting with President Carter, US efforts to convene the Geneva conference, the issue of Palestinian representation
C. Israel's secret contacts with Egypt
Begin's report on his visit to Romania and the proposal for a meeting with the Egyptians, Dayan's meetings in Morocco, the US attitude to the contacts and Kissinger's reaction
D. Sadat's plan to speak in the Knesset and Israel's response
Sadat's speech to the People's Assembly, Begin's reaction, the letter of invitation from Israel, Begin's report to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee on plans for the visit
E. "Operation Gate": preparations for Sadat's visit to Israel
First contacts with the Egyptians, preparations for the visit, Sadat's letter to Begin accepting the invitation to visit Jerusalem
F. Sadat's visit to Jerusalem
The government meeting before Sadat's speech in the Knesset discusses Begin's response, the two speeches, Dayan's notes about the meetings between Begin and Sadat and their delegations as dictated to his bureau chief
G. After the visit: impressions and plans for further talks
Reports to the Americans about the visit, Begin and the ministers sum up the visit and assess Sadat's sincerity, plans for further talks,
To the English web site: http://www.archives.gov.il/ArchiveGov_eng
Article published: 12-11-2012