chapter  1
31 Pages

The Struggle for a Geneva Conference

WithMelvin A. Friedlander

Anwar Sadat's effort to accommodate Palestinian demands for statehood at a Geneva-style, comprehensive peace conference was an effort to recover the lost territories quickly and under multilateral auspices. At a Geneva Conference, Palestinian representation independent of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) would lessen the threat to Hussein and permit moderate Palestinian leaders to emerge. The idea of granting PLO representation as part of an all-Arab delegation appeared to be gaining nearly universal acceptance. Cairo showed patience in the matter as the Egyptians were more concerned to discuss a compromise in the PLO's position on representation at Geneva. Sadat's proposal for a New York meeting was intended to prevent the PLO from disrupting the Geneva Conference itself and to facilitate direct Egyptian-Israeli discussions. Sadat shared Carter's disapproval and the Arab League's dislike of Israeli actions, but the threat of internal dissent spurred him to seek a forum outside of Geneva to achieve Israeli moderation.