Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sometimes Governments Deny Stuff

You may remember that a while ago we put up a large collection of documents about the visit to Jerusalem in November 1977 of Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian president. Assuming some readers hadn't read the entire thing, we've been blogging about it from time to time. (Try our "1977" label.)

In November, following decades of hostility and a few months of very careful and very secret preliminary negotiations, Sadat and then Begin found themselves passing messages to each other on the evening news. Suddenly understanding that this was all for real, Begin wrote a letter of invitation to Sadat. Since this was in the pre-e-mail era, and the normal postal service didn't connect Israel with Egypt, the letter was sent through the respective American ambassadors. Another copy was sent to President Jimmy Carter.

The letters are here. If you don't read Hebrew, skip the first page; the other three pages are in English. They're self-explanatory and I have no need to do any punditry about them - except to highlight this curious sentence from Begin's cover letter to Carter:
Over a period of 29 years all six of Israel's prime ministers, including myself, have stated their readiness to go anywhere and at any time to meet the Arab rulers to talk about peace. These offers have remained without response apart from certain clandestine meetings subsequently publicly denied by both sides.
Huh? Run that by me again? Never ever any meetings except for the ones we've all denied?

Do you think Carter knew what he was referring to?

1 comment:

  1. "Do you think Carter knew what he was referring to? "
    But surely you, Yaacov, do.