Last chance to avoid war: Sadat's peace initiative of February 1973 and its failure

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Most studies of the attempts to reach a political solution to the Egyptian-Israeli dispute between the wars of 1967 and 1973 focus predominantly on the Jarring mission (1968-71), the Rogers plan (1969-70) and Sadat's plan for a partial agreement in the Canal sector (early 1971). However, as this article shows on the basis of new archival documents, the most important diplomatic initiative during this period was Sadat's proposal for a comprehensive settlement of the Egyptian-Israeli dispute, which was secretly submitted to Kissinger in February 1973. Despite the fact that it met most of Israel's requirements regarding peace, Sadat's proposal was rejected by Golda Meir, who refused to return the territories occupied in 1967. Meir's stand did not change even when, in April 1973, Israel's leadership concluded that the only alternative to the diplomatic process was war - which would break out soon. By making this decision, Golda Meir and her colleagues opted for war rather than peace and turned the October 1973 Yom Kippur War into 'a war of choice'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-556+590
JournalJournal of Contemporary History
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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