This apology is for my stance toward the Arab-Israeli conflict as an Arab and Egyptian intellectual. This reflection comes after half a century of firsthand experiences and numerous scientific studies, articles, interviews, and field visits. I recall the Tripartite Aggression (Suez Crisis) of 1956 in which Israel participated against Egypt, including by occupying the Sinai. I vividly remember the bitter events of the 1967 defeat and the days of the Attrition War, followed by the glorious October War in 1973.
Having followed not only as a citizen but also as a student of political science, I witnessed President Sadat's courageous peace initiative, which led to peace agreements with Israel. Subsequently, I visited Israel as part of a delegation led by the late Ambassador Dr. Osama Al-Baz. I remained optimistic after the signing of peace agreements with Jordan (1994) and the Oslo Accords between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin (Oslo I, Oslo II) under American auspices. Following these developments, I faced condemnation from opponents of "normalization," including Egyptian intellectuals and professional unions, with the Journalists Syndicate at the forefront.
My opinion was that, after Egypt had reclaimed every inch of its land, standing tall and asserting its dignity, it could establish official peaceful relations with Israel. This was in accordance with the inherent right of Egyptians to either accept or reject it. I was among those who accepted it, hopeful that these steps would contribute to completing the peace that restores the dormant rights of the Palestinians.
Today, having observed with anger, dismay, and pain the ongoing atrocities and horrors in Gaza, where thousands of children and women are killed, homes and buildings are destroyed over the heads of people, and the bodies of the innocent lie unburied, I must express my sincere apology. I apologize for having held a favorable view of the Israelis, who have revealed a despicable criminal and racist spirit. My heartfelt apologies to the martyrs of Gaza and every Palestinian child, woman, and man. I apologize!
*The writer is an Egyptian politician, academic, writer, and political analyst.