November 19

This Day in History

General Interest

Nov 19, 1977:

Sadat visits Israel

In an unprecedented move for an Arab leader, Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat travels to Jerusalem to seek a permanent peace settlement with Israel after decades of conflict. Sadat's visit, in which he met with Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and spoke before the Knesset (Parliament), was met with outrage in most of the Arab world.

Despite criticism from Egypt's regional allies, Sadat continued to pursue peace with Begin, and in 1978 the two leaders met again in the United States, where they negotiated a historic agreement with President Jimmy Carter at Camp David, Maryland. The Camp David Accords, signed in September 1978, laid the groundwork for a permanent peace agreement between Egypt and Israel after three decades of hostilities. The final peace agreement--the first between Israel and one of its Arab neighbors--was signed in March 1979. The treaty ended the state of war between the two countries and provided for the establishment of full diplomatic and commercial relations.

Sadat and Begin were jointly awarded the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. However, Sadat's peace efforts were not so highly acclaimed in the Arab world, and he was assassinated on October 6, 1981, by Muslim extremists in Cairo. Despite Sadat's death, the peace process continued under Egypt's new president, Hosni Mubarak. In 1982, Israel fulfilled the 1979 peace treaty by returning the last segment of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. Egyptian-Israeli peace continues today.

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