Camp David and the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Agreement


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Reasons for the Camp David Accords:
  • The potential for a stalemate had become clear after Sadat's visit to Jerusalem: While Israel blocked any proposed clauses in favour of an independent Palestinian entity in an attempt to retain the West Bank, Egypt demanded Israel's recognition of the Palestinian's right to self-rule.
  • Carter called a summit at Camp David which neither Israel nor Egypt could reject as the invitation had been from the US president personally.

The Peace Agreement:

  • The negotiations lasted from 5th to 17th of September 1978 and two days before the end of the negotiations Sadat threatened to withdraw.
  • Two agreements were condluded:
  1. Israel would give up the Sinai, including settlements and airfields.
  2. "Framework for Peace in the Middle East" based upon resolutions 242 and 338, the resolution to the Palestinian problem, good neighbourly relations as well as Palestinian autonomy in the West bank (excluding Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip.

  • The Palestinian autonomy was interpreted by Carter and Sudat, a Palestinian self-governing authority, freely elected by the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was to replace the Israeli military administration. However Begin interpreted this as no more than "personal autonomy"- the problems with the peace agreement had already started to take place.
  • During a five-year transition period the final status of the terretories was to be negotiated.
  • 1979, 26th of March- the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty was signed.

Results:
  • Sadat had cut Egypt off from the rest of the Arab world by signing the treaty and Israel was faced with the emergy of a new radical right, determined to fight against Camp David.
  • It soon after became clear that Begin had no intentions of decreasing Israeli control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip and as a result, the negotiations on the autonomy scheme only continued for a short period and was cancelled by the end of 1979.
  • US became involved in the emerging Iranian Revolution, US hostage crisis in November 1979 and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December and were unable to put pressure on Israel.

Implications of Peace:
  • Arab leaders had to decide whether to participate in the negotiations or be left out. In the end only Egypt proceeded and the general Arab reaction to the peace settlement turned into open hostility.
  • the PLO became increasingly determined in its quest for Palestinian self-determination and for the West Bank Palestinians it became clear that the Egyptian-Israeli agreement confirmed continued Israeli rule.

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  • Sadat's successor, Murabak, upheld the peace agreement with Israel and Egypt became the first Arab state to make peace with israel.
  • The Egyptian boycott on Israel was lifted and started selling oil.
  • 1974, US President Nixon offered both Egypt and Israel help with civil nuclear power.
  • The treaty provided Israel with security and stability along its southern border and thereby freed-up the country's limited resources.
  • The treaty removed the Arab country with the largest military forces from the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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  • The Arab League imposed economic and political boycott on Egypt and membership became suspended.
  • The lack of rapid economic growth as had been promised to the Egyptian population left Sadat open to criticism and eventually assassinated in October 1981.
  • Failure of the treaty to esablish Palestinian autonomy led to Israel's continued settlement policies and annexation fo the Golan Heights in 1981 as well as Israel's invasion of Lebanon 1982.

Historiography:
The negotiations:
  • "an emotional ceremony in the East Room of the White House late on 17 September 1978"- Bailey.

The Palestinians:
  • "You cannot expect millions of Arab Palestinians to go away, or to be content with occupation, or to acquiesce to an Israeli, Egyptian, or an American, idea of their destiny, their "atonomy", or their physical location"- Edward Said.

Egyptian response:
  • Sadat "had abandoned the Palestinian cause in order to recover the Sinai"- Tessler.