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Sadat with Jimmy Carter, signing the peace treaty
Sadat with Jimmy Carter, signing the peace treaty 
 
 

Israel’s Sinai catastrophe

Op-ed: Three decades after signing Egypt treaty, Israel finds itself without Sinai, and without peace

Hagai Segal
Published: 06.22.12, 16:26 / Israel Opinion

Some 150 years after the French Revolution, Chinese leader Zhou Enlai noted that it is still too early to assess its significance. He exaggerated, of course, but was right in principle.

 

It is dangerous to celebrate great historical events too early.

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There, some 34 years after Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula, it suddenly turns out that we made a terrible, foolish mistake. Two leaders, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, were awarded a Nobel Peace Prize because of this folly, and it was considered to be one of the best things that happened here since 1948.

 

Yet one clear day, we found ourselves without the Sinai, and without peace.

 

Even withdrawal objectors had trouble at the time imagining the extent of the catastrophe. They barricades themselves on a Yamit monument in order to warn us that one of these days the Egyptians will attack us from the Sinai, yet they did not consider the possibility that the Egyptian threats will be a minor issue compared to the new threat we now face from that region which we left behind in 1982.

 

All the madmen of the radical Islamic camp are flooding the area as of late and are starting to embitter our lives. Afghanistan is here. As opposed to previous periods, we cannot even respond, as not to find ourselves entangled in a head-on collision with the new Egypt; an Iran-style Egypt.

 

All we can do now is build a fence and hope for a miracle.

 

In fact, one miracle has already happened. Despite all the domestic and external pressures, we have not yet signed a peace treaty with Syria that is based on the Egyptian model of withdrawing to the last inch.

 

The impasse on establishing a Palestinian state is also a sort of miracle. We spared ourselves Qassam rockets exploding in Tiberius, in Afula and in Herzliya. Indeed, that’s the last thing we needed right now.

 

 

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