NEW YORK (Mar. 29)
Ten years after Egypt and Israel signed a treaty, peace between the two countries is “solid” and “irreversible,” Cairo’s ambassador to Washington told a Manhattan synagogue audience Monday night.
El-Sayed Abdel Raouf el-Reedy, speaking at a symposium on prospects for Middle East peace at Park East Synagogue, said moreover that the treaty had encouraged Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to accept Israel’s right to live alongside a Palestinian state.
Reedy, sharing the platform with Israeli Consul General Uri Savir, said the “tide for peace” among the peoples of the Middle East was “overwhelming, putting them far ahead of their governments.”
He called it an “unprecedented phenomenon in the region,” and said it boded well for peace between Israel and a Palestinian state alongside it.
Now that it is shown that “peace between Israel and an Arab country is possible,” he said, “the Palestinian position in particular has been the focus of a more profound transformation.”
It is moving steadily toward “acceptance of the two-state solution,” he said.
Savir, saying his country joined in celebrating the peace, called for “direct dialogue” among the parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict as the only effective method of achieving progress toward a comprehensive peace.
But he added a warning about “the Middle East arms race,” saying that the introduction of chemical weapons and land-based missiles into the area “imperils the political progress made thus far and threatens the economy of the entire region.”
Savir conceded that “the problem of resolving the conflict between the aspirations of the Palestinian Arabs and the security needs of Israel is incredibly difficult.
“That is why I believe we must move slowly, step by step, with interim solutions to our goals, rather than a grand solution all at once.”
“Peace, not war, is inexorable,” because it “is in the interests of both sides,” Savir said.