The visit was an important chapter in Israel's relations with Germany. Here we'll focus on another aspect, mentioned in our post on Thursday. Only three months before the Yom Kippur war, Israel's Prime Minister Golda Meir was eager to use Brandt's good offices to contact the Egyptians and to propose secret talks on a peace settlement and withdrawal from part of Sinai.
|Willy Brandt and US President Richard Nixon (Wikipedia)|
Did she really want a partial settlement? Did Sadat? Could the war have been prevented? Among historians there is much controversy on these questions. The war was so traumatic for Israel that emotions still run high, even 40 years later. Some blame the US Administration for the failure to push an agreement, others still think that Golda's government was responsible. Next week, Dr. Hagai Tsoref of the ISA, editor of a forthcoming collection of documents to commemorate Golda Meir, will present his views at a one-day conference at Haifa University.
|Cover of a book about the failure of the government in the Yom Kippur war (Wikipedia)|
What became of Brandt's involvement? Apparently his agreement to help was half-hearted: he sent a middle ranking diplomat to talk to Hafiz Ismail, Sadat's adviser who had already held inconclusive talks with the Americans in February and May 1973. After these talks and the Brezhnev-Nixon summit in June, which made it clear that the Great Powers did not intend to act on a Mid East settlement, it seems that Sadat had decided that only war would break the stalemate. The German initiative was a case of "too little, too late."