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The Middle East: 1956 –1979 - President Sadat speaking to the Israeli Parliament, 1977

The Middle East: 1956 –1979

Key issue: How far did the events of the years 1956 to 1967 show how difficult it was to find a solution to the problems in the Middle East?

The background to the problems in the Middle East

The Suez Crisis, 1956; the end of British influence

The founding of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), 1964

The Arab Summits,1964–1965

The Six Day War, 1967.

Key issue: How close to victory were the Arabs in the 1970s?

Hijackings, 1970–1972

The Munich Olympics, 1972

The Yom Kippur War, 1973

Oil wars and economic pressures, 1973

The PLO, 1974–1975; Yasser Arafat speaking at the UN Assembly, 1975.

Key issue: How close was the Middle East to peace by the end of the 1970s?

The Israeli occupation and settlement of the West Bank and Gaza, 1977

President Sadat speaking to the Israeli Parliament, 1977

The Israeli invasion of the Lebanon, March 1978

The meeting at Camp David, September 1978

Signing of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, March 1979.


We all still bear the consequences of four fierce wars waged within 30 years. All this at the time when the families of the 1973 October War are still mourning under the cruel pain of bereavement of father, son, husband, and brother.
As I have already declared, I have not consulted as far as this decision is concerned with any of my colleagues or brothers, the Arab heads of state, or the confrontation states.
Most of those who contacted me following the declaration of this decision expressed their objection because of the feeling of utter suspicion and absolute lack of confidence between the Arab states and the Palestine people on the one hand and Israel on the other that still surges in us all.
Many months in which peace could have been brought about have been wasted over differences and fruitless discussions on the procedure of convening the Geneva Conference. All have shared suspicion and absolute lack of confidence.
But to be absolutely frank with you, I took this decision after long thought, knowing that it constitutes a great risk, for God Almighty has made it my fate to assume responsibility on behalf of the Egyptian people, to share in the responsibility of the Arab nation, the main duty of which, dictated by responsibility, is to exploit all and every means in a bid to save my Egyptian Arab people and the pan-Arab nation from the horrors of new suffering and destructive wars, the dimensions of which are foreseen only by God Himself.
After long thinking, I was convinced that the obligation of responsibility before God and before the people make it incumbent upon me that I should go to the far corners of the world -- even to Jerusalem to address members of the Knesset and acquaint them with all the facts surging in me, then I would let you decide for yourselves.
Following this, may God Almighty determine our fate.


Here I tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that it is no use to refrain from recognizing the Palestinian people and their right to statehood as their right of return. We, the Arabs, have faced this experience before, with you. And with the reality of the Israeli existence, the struggle which took us from war to war, from victims to more victims, until you and we have today reached the edge of a horrible abyss and a terrifying disaster unless, together, we seize this opportunity today of a durable peace based on justice.


History Channel - Anwar El-Sadat Speaks to Israeli Parliament.

Jewish Virtual Library - Anwar al-Sadat.

BBC On This Day - 1977: Egyptian leader's Israel trip makes history.




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