AJC eBook: Israel’s Triple Anniversary - Page 13

2 01 7— I SR A E L’ S T RIP LE ANNIVERSARY YEAR 11 stay out of the war, joined the anti-Israel coalition, on Jordanian forces as well. It was Israel that delivered the knockout blow: six days later Israel was in control of the Sinai and Gaza Strip, the formerly Syrian Golan Heights, and the entire West Bank of the Jordan, including the Old City of Jerusalem. The threat of annihilation was removed. Addressing the UN on June 19, Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban expressed the hope that Israel’s complete victory would finally convince the Arab world to accept the Jewish state and make peace. He said: In free negotiation with each of our neighbors we shall offer durable and just solutions redounding to our mutual advantage and honor. The Arab states can no longer be permitted to recognize Israel’s existence only for the purpose of plotting its elimination. They have come face to face with us in conflict. Let them now come face to face with us in peace.8 But even the stunning Arab debacle made no dent in the wall of Arab rejectionism. Meeting at Khartoum in August, Arab leaders announced “no recognition, no negotiations, no peace” with Israel. The same Arab refusal to accept the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and to come to terms with the UN partition plan of 1947—decisions that had brought war and Arab defeats—was repeated after 1967, even as Israel controlled all of the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. It took another military bout—the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, when Israel at first reeled from a surprise Egyptian and Syrian attack, but then recovered and beat it back—to break the unanimous wall of Arab rejectionism. Four years later, on November 20, 1977, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat addressed the Israeli Knesset and told the Israeli people “we accept to live with you in permanent peace based on justice.”9 Negotiations at Camp David under the sponsorship of U.S. President Jimmy Carter followed, and a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was signed in March 1979: Israel relinquished the entire Sinai to Egypt, which pledged to keep it demilitarized, and the two countries normalized relations and exchanged ambassadors. 8 9 Ibid, p. 110. Ibid, p. 214.