On 19 November 1977, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to visit Israel. Speaking before the Knesset in West Jerusalem, Sadat paved the way for the historic peace treaty between Egypt and Israel in 1979. Forty years on, this visit and its ensuing agreement continue to polarise Middle-Eastern geopolitics and popular sentiment. For Israel’s Ambassador to Singapore, Simona Halperin, Sadat’s trip precipitated a profound positive change for Israeli-Egyptian relations and in a piece written for MEI, she describes how both states, once bitter enemies, have routinely cooperated in the fields of agriculture, industry, trade, tourism, and health.
More importantly, peace between Israel and Egypt remains “stable” and “solid”, despite recent regional political turbulence. It is this very peace that forms the cornerstone of Israeli diplomacy in the Middle East, and its approach to regional peace processes, including that of Palestine. Click here to read H.E. Simona Halperin's article in full.
If you’d like to hear more about the 1979 peace treaty, join us at the Institute on 28 November when our guest speakers discuss the implications of this treaty for the Middle East today. For more on this event and registration, click here.
Saudi Arabia has made the headlines yet again, this time for its warm relationship with Israel. If history is any indicator, the close ties between the two countries should not come as a surprise. The bigger question one should ask is what are the factors reinvigorating such a relationship?
We had a chat with Dr Victor Kattan at the Institute and in his view, “Recent reports in the media point to growing ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Israel-Saudi ties are not new, but have become more pronounced in recent months, leading analysts to suggest these stories are being published to prepare the Arab world for normalisation with Israel. The million dollar question is to what extent President Trump’s ‘ultimate deal’ for a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is being influenced by the rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. In October, King Salman made the first ever visit by a Saudi monarch to Moscow. The King told President Putin that he hoped to see established ‘a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital’ as part of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It remains to be seen whether the prospect of normalisation between Israel and the Gulf states, which is being driven primarily by fear of Iran’s growing regional hegemony, will convince Jerusalem and Ramallah to bury their differences and come to an agreement. A lot will depend on what President Trump’s ‘ultimate deal’ actually says".