Here are some interesting quotes from Sharon's autobiography Warrior. (It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Ariel Sharon and I’m not providing much context here so make of these what you will.)
During the beginning phases of the historic peace accord with Egypt Sharon was tasked with establishing bridge building agricultural projects between Egypt and Israel. Sadat leveraged this agricultural cooperation to show the Egyptians how peace with Israel could benefit them.
On a trip to Mit Elkom one Egyptian minister remarked that once the Egyptians have this Israeli agricultural know-how they can then forget about the Israelis and do it themselves. To this Sadat responded "We have the land. We have the water, and now we have Arik. He will help us do it."
Here’s Sharon on what true peace means to him. He and his wife Lily were visiting Egypt during the historic peace negotiations with Egypt and they were being treated to a tour of various agricultural spots which caught Sharon's interest.
|The following day Lily and I were driven to a nearby air force base along with a small group of staff people I had brought with me. There Sadat's jet was waiting, a sleek Russian made Antonov. Two young fliers took their seats, and in talking to them I found that they were both jet pilots who had fought in the Yom Kippur war [against us]. Both had been active against the canal crossing operation and one of them had taken pat in the major Egyptian effort to destroy the bridges.|
As we talked, I was sitting between the two pilots and a little behind them with the map across my knees. When we arrived at the coordinates near the Western Desert I asked them to circle around and fly low over the sand.
As we flew I understood – I think for the first time – the meaning of peace between our two nations. I was struck by the idea that I, an ex-Israeli general who had battled the Egyptians for 25 years, was in the cockpit with two Egyptian pilots who had fought against me in the last war. Here I was with the earphones and microphone on talking to them, telling them to turn this way and that, to fly lower or higher. And where were we going? We were searching for land for food production, to help solve one of Egypt's major problems, producing enough to eat for its growing population. I thought that if I were to look for a real expression of what peace meant, this would be it. An Egyptian airplane, two Egyptian pilots, an Israeli general – looking for arable land. In my eyes that was peace indeed.
That afternoon we landed in Luxor. Looking at the Nile there is a remarkable experience. Everthing is quiet and still. It is as of time had stopped. The local inhabitants sit there motionless, squatting torpidly in the heat – a slightly different type of people, not only Arab, but something else too. They looked at us silently as we gazed in the direction of the Valley of Kings and Queens, where we planned to visit the next day. That evening we saw the famous Temple of Karnak with its looming pillars and its inscriptions telling of the Egyptian punitive expedition the Pharaoh Shishak had sent against Judah and Israel in the time of Solomon's son Rehoboam. The hieroglyphs told the same story the Bible did, even naming the Israeli town the Egyptians took. This had happened almost 3000 years ago, and here we were still, Egyptians and Israelis. Suddenly the history of these two people seemed to run together.