Forty years of peace with Egypt
In June 2019, President Reuven Rivlin hosted Egypt’s envoy to Israel at an event marking 40 years since the peace treaty between the two countries. In his speech, President Rivlin recalled that the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was signed only six years after the challenging Yom Kippur War in 1973. “We could never have imagined that only a few years later our leaders would hug and shake hands. This should serve as an inspiration for our efforts to achieve peace with all of our neighbors, especially our Palestinian neighbors” said Rivlin. He expressed an appreciation to Egypt’s current leader, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, stating that “President el-Sissi’s commitment to peace, stability, and cooperation has ensured that our relationship stays strong.”
President Sadat, President Carter and Prime Minister Begin at the Peace Treaty signing in the White House in 1979
In 1977, Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat made a historic visit to Israel. After months of intense negotiations, the Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed in March 1979 in the White House. Peace was restored, relations normalized and Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai Peninsula. The agreement made Egypt the first Arab state to officially recognize Israel, and also, caused an enormous controversy across the Arab world. The sense of outrage was particularly strong in the Palestinian camp. Their leader Yasser Arafat declared that “false peace will not last.” The past forty years of peace with Egypt has proved that peace treaties can last. Since the signing of the treaty, Egypt has become an important strategic partner of Israel, and furthermore, Egypt began receiving economic and military aid from the United States.
News from Bahrain
Members of the U.S. delegation in Bahrain, June 2019
The Bahrain Economic Conference took place in June 26−27, 2019, in Manama, the Kingdom of Bahrain. A large number of Arab state and prominent world leaders gathered for the event which concentrated mainly in the U.S. Administration’s efforts to bring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Given the decades of failures to achieve peace, the U.S. has taken a different approach with this conference, one that aims to aid the Palestinian economy before focusing on the political aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Ahead of the event, the U.S. Administration released a 10-year investment plan for Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. The total value of the economic package is $50 billion from which about $27 billion is allocated to the development of the Palestinian economy. It is estimated that the financial plan would create about one million new jobs and improve in other ways the mostly poor Palestinian Arabs’ lives. Since 1950s, the Palestinians have received total of $11 billion of international financial aid, which is more than Japan or all Europe received for rebuilding after WW2.
As expected, the Palestinian leadership boycotted the conference. By refusing such a generous economic opportunity which is endorsed by its major Arab allies, the Palestinian Authority demonstrated that it does not have an interest in the wellbeing or peace of its own poeples. For the conference days the PA sent rioters with flaming balloons to the Gaza border. It appears that the Palestinians have missed the deal of the century to continue embracing poverty and their conflict with Israel. (References: Online news posts of Jerusalem News Syndicate and the Times of Israel)