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Camp David Accords

Camp David Accords


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The Camp David Accords were a series of agreements signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin following nearly two weeks of secret negotiations at Camp David, the historic country retreat of the president of the United States. President Jimmy Carter brought the two sides together, and the accords were signed on September 17, 1978. The landmark agreement stabilized the fractious relations between Israel and Egypt, though the long-term impact of the Camp David Accords remains up for debate.

Peace in the Middle East

The ultimate goal of the Camp David Accords was to establish a framework for peace in the Middle East by formalizing Arab recognition of Israel’s right to exist, developing a procedure for the withdrawal of Israeli forces and citizens from the so-called “Occupied Territories” of the West Bank (which would enable the establishment of a Palestinian state there) and taking steps to safeguard Israel’s security.

Egypt and Israel had been engaged in various military and diplomatic conflicts since the establishment of Israel in 1948, and tensions had been particularly high after the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

In addition, the Israelis had taken control of the Sinai Peninsula, which had been under Egyptian control, during the 1967 conflict.

Although the accords were an historic agreement between two sides often at loggerheads, and both Sadat and Begin shared the Nobel Peace Prize for 1978 in recognition of the achievement (Jimmy Carter would win in 2002 “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts”), their overall significance is arguable, given that the region is still mired in conflict.

Resolution 242

While the Camp David Accords were negotiated over a few days in the summer of 1978, they were actually the result of months of diplomatic efforts that began when Jimmy Carter assumed the presidency in January 1977 after defeating Gerald Ford.

Resolution of Arab-Israeli conflict and a solution to the questions surrounding Israeli sovereignty and the rights of Palestinians with regard to statehood had been a holy grail of international diplomacy since the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 in 1967.

Resolution 242 decried the “acquisition of territory by war”—specifically the Six-Day War of 1967—and cited the need to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East.

In its role as a world power, and Israel’s biggest supporter on the world stage, the United States would ultimately play a central role in achieving these aims, and doing so became a linchpin of Carter’s platform during the run-up to the 1976 presidential election.

Historically, though, leaders in both Israel and Egypt had been reluctant to come to the table—that is, until Sadat agreed to speak before a session of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, in November 1977.

Just days after his address, the two sides began informal and sporadic peace talks that would, ultimately, result in the signing of the Camp David Accords, the first such formal agreement between Israel and any Arab nation.

It’s believed Sadat extended the olive branch to his regional rival to curry favor with the United States and its allies. Egypt’s economy had been stagnant for years, particularly since the blockade of the Suez Canal, an action taken by Egypt in response to Israel’s incursion into the Sinai Peninsula and the West Bank during the Six-Day War.

Agreements in the Camp David Accords

There was such acrimony between Egypt and Israel heading into the talks at Camp David that Carter reportedly had to speak with each of the leaders separately in their respective cabins at Camp David on several occasions to reach consensus.

Still, Egypt and Israel were able to agree on a number of previously controversial matters. The resulting Camp David Accords essentially featured two separate agreements. The first, entitled “A Framework for Peace in the Middle East,” called for:

  • The establishment of a self-governing authority in the Israeli “Occupied Territories” of Gaza and the West Bank, effectively as a step toward Palestinian statehood.
  • Full implementation of provisions of U.N. Resolution 242, including, notably, the withdrawal of Israeli forces and civilians from West Bank lands acquired during the Six-Day War.
  • Recognition of the “legitimate rights of the Palestinian people” and the beginning of processes to grant them full autonomy within the West Bank and Gaza within five years.

Jerusalem

The future of the city of Jerusalem, which both the Israelis and Palestinians wish to have serve as their capital, was notably and intentionally left out of this agreement, as it was (and remains) a highly contentious issue—one that has received renewed attention in 2017 thanks to President Donald Trump and his announcement formally recognizing the city as Israel’s capital.

The second agreement, entitled “A Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel,” effectively outlined the peace treaty (the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty) ratified by the two sides six months later, in March 1979 at the White House.

The accords and resulting treaty called for Israel to withdraw its troops from the Sinai Peninsula and restore full diplomatic relations with Egypt. Egypt, in turn, would be compelled to allow Israeli ships to use, and pass through, the Suez Canal and Straits of Tiran, a body of water that effectively connects Israel with the Red Sea.

Notably, the treaty that resulted from the second “framework” also called for the United States to provide both countries with billions in annual subsidies, including military aid. Under the terms negotiated, Egypt receives $1.3 billion annually in military aid from the United States, while Israel receives $3 billion.

In subsequent years, this financial assistance has been given on top of other aid packages and investments involving both countries on the part of the United States. The subsidies as earmarked in the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty have continued to the present day.

Aftermath of the Camp David Accords

As important as they have been to diplomacy in the Middle East by laying the groundwork for cooperative (if not entirely cordial) relations between Egypt and Israel in the decades since, not everyone was on board with all of the components of the Camp David Accords.

Seeing Egypt’s formal recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a betrayal, the Arab League, an alliance of nations in the region, suspended the North African nation from its membership for the next 10 years. Egypt wasn’t fully reinstated into the Arab League until 1989.

Even more significantly, the United Nations never formally accepted the first agreement of the accords, the so-called “Framework for Peace in the Middle East,” because it was written without Palestinian representation and input.

Still, though the Camp David Accords have hardly fostered peace in what has been a tumultuous region of the world for many years, they have stabilized relations between two of the Middle East’s biggest powers.

Moreover, the accords laid the groundwork for the Oslo Accords, agreements signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993 that resolved significant issues and moved the region one step closer to a lasting peace that still remains elusive.

Sources

Camp David Accords. Office of the Historian. U.S. Department of State. State.gov.
Camp David Accords; September 17, 1978. Avalon Project. Yale University School of Law.
Camp David Accords: The Framework for Peace in the Middle East. The Jimmy Carter Library.


The Camp David Accords Twenty Years Later: A Balance Sheet

Camp David saw an Arab-Israeli conflict "permanently altered." The accords have withstood the change of Egyptian government from Anwar Sadat to Hosni Mubarak, which demonstrates their acceptance by the Egyptian body politic. Indeed, they have been accepted by the Arab world: Mubarak has succeeded in regaining Egypt's central role in the Arab world while maintaining peace with Israel.

> The formula that Sadat endorsed in the accords remains a prerequisite to the Arab-Israeli peace process: mutual acceptance. Camp David normalized most Egyptians' feelings toward Israel. Among some, ill feelings may still exist, but there is no denial of Israel's existence.

In the Egyptian perspective, the notion of mutual acceptance was coupled with the need to solve the Palestinian question both to facilitate a full peace and to avoid further tension and conflict. In this way, Camp David led to the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. After the Oslo breakthrough, the cold peace between Egypt and Israel began to thaw. Rejectionist voices were heard less frequently and people were willing to give the new atmosphere a chance. The business community in Egypt felt that both sides could benefit from cooperation. The intelligentsia in Egypt began to write about opening up to Israel now that there was a solution-in-the-making to the Palestinian question. Additionally, Egyptian newspapers opened their papers for the first time to Israeli writers and the Egyptian parliament received an Israeli parliamentary delegation. Egypt, throughout the Arab world, promoted peaceful relations with Israel and many countries responded favorably.

> Binyamin Netanyahu's election and policies reversed these trends. The West Bank closures, the harsh and sometimes brutal punishment of Palestinians after the suicide attacks of 1996, the rejection of the land-for-peace formula, and -- worst of all -- the opening of the Hasmonean Tunnel and the construction in Har Homa all replaced the psychology of reconciliation with the psychology of conflict.

The Future of Camp David. The coming decade is sure to be one in which the people, not just the leaders, will be involved in Egyptian-Israeli politics. This can be positive or negative. It is up to the respective leaders to "transform the dynamic" of the region to facilitate a positive outcome. There are hopeful signs: Egyptian-Israeli trade has increased eight-fold from 1991 to 1996, and the number of Egyptians visiting Israel has grown from mere hundreds per year to 30,000 in 1996. On the other hand, there are extremists on both sides who would sap away at the pluralistic values inherent in Egyptian and Israeli culture.

One problem for the relationship is that Egypt's foreign policies are often attacked by the Israeli media. Egyptians see this as an attempt to drive a wedge between Egypt and the United States to secure Israel's dominant and hegemonic position in the region. Egyptians resent the fact that support from the United States is dependent on Egypt's policies towards Israel.

> Egypt remains a pivotal country in the region and remains the key to the peace process. Israel-Egypt relations cannot withstand a prolonged stalemate in the Arab-Israeli peace process.

Both sides have benefited enormously from the Camp David accords:

Each gained its main aim: The Egyptians retrieved the Sinai. The Israelis received their first recognition from an Arab state, ending the taboo on relations with Israel.

There has been no war between the two countries. The saving of lives and money has been incalculable.

Each country's relations with the United States are stronger as a result of the accords. Although Israeli politicians are not always sensitive to Egyptian perceptions, they were and are supportive of positive relations between Egypt and the United States.

Both countries benefited economically from peace.

The "Cold Peace." There is a structural problem in the nature of the accords. Egypt's conflict with Israel ended once the peace treaty was completed. Israel made peace with Egypt, yet it continues to have a conflict with others in the Arab world. This forced Israel into a double posture -- peaceful toward Egypt, vigilant toward other Arab countries -- which Egyptians could not accept.

Another problem is their different interpretations of normalization. To the Israelis, the treaty was meant to establish a network of relations between Egyptians and Israelis in all different occupations, which would solidify peace. To many Egyptians, normalization will take place only after a full peace between Israel and all its neighbors is established, not the other way around. Additionally, many Egyptians are afraid that Israel intends to penetrate their economy and culture. Yet, strides in normalization have taken place, for instance, in trade, agricultural technology, tourism, oil, and the academic center. Peace movements now exist in both Israel and Egypt.

> The cooling of relations in recent years cannot be blamed only on Netanyahu. There is a wide gap separating Israeli and Egyptian policies. The dissemination in Egypt of hate literature against Israel, which has increased, is difficult for Israelis to ignore. Plus, the media in Egypt block out positive messages from Israel.

Suggestions for Improved Relations. Egypt should establish permanent back-channels with Israel to increase communication and to avoid misunderstandings. Egypt needs to understand that Israel is not interested in regional competition. Additionally, Egypt needs to differentiate between legitimate political criticism and defamation of a religion and culture. Also, Egyptians should make up their minds whether they want to have real economic cooperation with Israel or not.

Israel should move forward with the peace process -- this is the key. Israel must show greater understanding for Egypt's position in the peace process, namely, that Egypt cannot be expected to be impartial, though Israel can expect that Egypt be constructive. Finally, Israel should determine if it will define itself through its relations with the West or if it wants to be integrated into the Middle East.

> Even without these improvements, the Egyptian-Israeli relationship has essentially been successful and the leaderships of the two countries can take credit for that.


Bibliography

Enderlin, Charles. Shattered Dreams: The Failure of the Peace Process in the Middle East, 1995 – 2002. New York: Other Press, 2003.

Malley, Robert, and Agha, Hussein. "Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors." New York Review of Books : 9 August 2001.

Pressman, Jeremy. "Visions in Collision: What Happened at Camp David and Taba?" International Security, 28, no. 2 (fall 2003), 5 – 43. Available from <http://bcsia.ksg.harvard.edu/BCSIA_content/documents/pressman.pdf>.

Sontag, Deborah. "Quest for Middle East Peace: How and Why It Failed." New York Times : 26 July 2001.


History of Camp David

President Kennedy with JFK, Jr., at Camp David. (Source: John F. Kennedy Library)

President Nixon with Soviet President Brezhnev standing beside the pool near Aspen. Brezhnev is wearing one of the windbreakers given to all Camp David guests. (Source: Nat'l Archives)

The Reagans at Camp David in 1984. (Source: Ronald Reagan Library)

Related Links

For more than 50 years now, when presidents have wanted privacy, they have sought the cool, secluded lodges and cabins of Camp David, the presidential retreat tucked away in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains.

Presidents have entertained visiting heads of state, such a former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, conducted cabinet meetings, and briefed Congressional leaders at the retreat. The 1978 Middle East peace talks concluded with what have become known as the Camp David Accords. Yet few Americans know much about the place, considering its prominence.

Federal Summer Camp

It all started in 1935, when the Work Projects Administration, WPA, began building the Catoctin Recreational Demonstration Area Project near Thurmont, Maryland, as an example of creating parks from worn-out agricultural land.

Three years later, the area opened as a camp for federal government employees and their families. Known as Hi-Catoctin, the facility consisted of several small cabins, a dining hall, and a swimming pool. Covered with trees and 1,800 feet above sea level, the spot provided a cool respite from the near tropical humidity of the Washington, DC, area.

Meanwhile, immediately after America's entry into World War II, doctors for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt were urging the ailing president to find a place convenient to Washington, yet far enough away to escape the heat and political pressures of the city.

The presidential yacht, USS Potomac, was out of the question because of heightened security considerations imposed by the war. After a search committee considered two other sites on Furnace Mountain on the Virginia side of the Potomac River below Harper's Ferry and Shenandoah National Park, Virginia Roosevelt toured two sites in the Catoctin Mountains.

He picked Hi-Catoctin, issuing a set of instructions on how the buildings should be remodeled and asking for the construction of a main lodge, which resembled the Roosevelt winter vacation home in Warm Springs, Georgia. The initial work cost $25,000. The camp was renamed the USS Shangri La, to follow up on the nautical connection, since many workers involved with the Potomac worked on the camp.

Popular Presidential Choice

Since Roosevelt inaugurated Shangri-La with a three-day visit beginning July 18, 1942, all subsequent presidents have made extensive use of the mountain top retreat.

President Harry Truman did not visit Shangri-La often because Bess, his wife, felt it was dull. However, when they did visit, the Trumans enjoyed Shangri-La. Truman's favorite sport was walking and he spent long hours wandering the mountain trails with a secret service agent in tow.

Renamed Camp David

President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name of the retreat to Camp David in honor of his grandson, David Eisenhower. Although he and his wife, Mamie, tended to use Camp David for private relaxation, Eisenhower held the first cabinet meeting ever to take place there. He also hosted British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev at Camp David.

President John Kennedy and his family visited the camp often, enjoying the horseback riding and other recreational opportunities. Kennedy also allowed White House staff and cabinet members to use Camp David when he was not there.

President Lyndon Johnson held several important discussions with advisers on the Vietnam War, the crisis in the Dominican Republic, and other world events, at Camp David and hosted Prime Minister and Mrs. Harold Holt of Australia.

Reconstruction and Improvements

President Richard Nixon used Camp David as much as his five predecessors combined. Nixon had several new buildings built in compatible architectural styles, but complete with modern conveniences. He held cabinet meetings, staff conferences, hosted foreign dignitaries, and family get togethers at Camp David.

President Gerald Ford rode around Camp David on a snowmobile, and hosted President and Mrs. Suharto of Indonesia.

President Jimmy Carter hosted the now famous Camp David Summit in 1978, between Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and resulted in what are now known as the Camp David Accords establishing peace between Egypt and Israel. Carter also enjoyed fly-fishing.

President Ronald Reagan spent more time at Camp David than any other president. He liked horseback riding and working in the woodworking shop. Nancy Reagan worked on various landscaping improvements and updated decorating in some of the buildings. They also hosted British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

A Camp David Wedding

President George Bush pitched horseshoes at Camp David, and welcomed Prince Charles to the retreat. In 1992, Bush's daughter, Dorothy "Doro" married Bobby Koch at Camp David, the first wedding ever performed there.

While President Bill Clinton visited Camp David infrequently in the early days of his administration, he did hold a week-long retreat on management with incoming administration officials in 1993. As his term progressed, however, Clinton spent more time at the retreat.

President George W. Bush is a frequent visitor to Camp David, and has spent hundreds of days there. He has entertained numerous foreign leaders there as well as friends and family.


In 1973, as the Watergate scandal was unraveling his presidency, Richard Nixon invited Soviet leader Leonid Breshnev to visit Camp David. When Breshnev arrived, Nixon gave him a 1973 Lincoln Continental as a gift. The Soviet leader was thrilled with the car, and asked Nixon to join him in a drive down the camp&rsquos main road, a suggestion with which Nixon readily agreed. Nixon later recounted the story of the drive, writing, &ldquoHe got behind the wheel and motioned me into the passenger seat&rdquo. Nixon claimed that his &ldquoSecret Service man went pale&rdquo as he got into the passenger seat, and the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States &ldquotook off down one of the narrow roads…&rdquo

Breshnev exhibited a penchant for driving at high speed, ignoring Nixon&rsquos pleas to slow down as they approached a tight turn on the wooded road at a speed of &ldquomore than fifty miles per hour&rdquo. At one point, had Breshnev not been able to make a turn the car would have tumbled down a steep slope along the side of the road. Breshnev made the turn, and according to Nixon&rsquos account the president informed him that he was an excellent driver.


Camp David Accords - HISTORY

Some of these have been successful, including those between Egypt and Israel and Israel and Jordan, but a settlement has still not been reached in the core conflict, the dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The BBC News website's Paul Reynolds looks at the main peace proposals since 1967 and what happened to them.

This was passed on 22 November 1967 and embodies the principle that has guided most of the subsequent peace plans - the exchange of land for peace.

The resolution called for the "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict", and "respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force".

The resolution is famous for the imprecision, in English, of its central phase concerning an Israeli withdrawal - it says simply "from territories".

The Israelis said this did not necessarily mean all territories, but Arab negotiators argued that it did.

It was written under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, under which Security Council resolutions are recommendations, not under Chapter VII, which means they are orders. Many peace proposals refer to 242.

Resolution 338 is usually linked to it. This called for a ceasefire in the war of October 1973 and urged the implementation of 242 "in all its parts".

There were several peace plans following the 1967 war, including one by Yigal Allon, an Israeli general who proposed that Israel give back to Jordan the highlands of the West Bank while retaining a defensive line along the Jordan valley.

However, nothing happened until after the war in October 1973, during which Egyptian forces crossed the Suez Canal. There followed a new mood for peace, at least between Israel and Egypt, as was shown by a historic visit to Jerusalem by the Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in November 1977.

US President Jimmy Carter capitalised on the new mood and invited President Sadat and the Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin for talks at the presidential retreat at Camp David near Washington.

The talks lasted for 12 days and resulted in two agreements.

The first was called A Framework for Peace in the Middle East. It laid down principles for peace, expanding on resolution 242, set out what it hoped was a way of resolving what it called the "Palestinian problem", agreed that there should be a treaty between Egypt and Israel and called for other treaties between Israel and its neighbours.

The weakness of the first agreement was the section on the Palestinians. The plan aimed to set up a "self-governing authority" in the West Bank and Gaza, leading to eventual "final status" talks, but the Palestinians were not party to the agreement.

The second accord was the framework for the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. This followed in 1979, after an Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai.

This was the first recognition of Israel as a state by a major Arab country. They probably stand as the most successful negotiations in the whole peace process.

The treaty has lasted, and it substantially strengthened Israel's position. However the peace between Egypt and Israel has not been warm. President Sadat was himself later assassinated.

This conference, co-sponsored by the US and the Soviet Union, was designed to follow up the Egypt-Israel treaty by encouraging other Arab countries to sign their own agreements with Israel.

Jordan, Lebanon and Syria were invited as well as Israel and Egypt. The Palestinians were also represented, but as part of a joint delegation with Jordan and not by Yasser Arafat or other leading figures in the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), to whom the Israelis objected.

The conference eventually led to a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan in 1994, but this probably would have happened anyway.

The symbolism of Arab countries other than Egypt openly negotiating with Israel was probably the main achievement of the Madrid conference. The Palestinian track soon gave way to secret talks that led to the Oslo agreement.

After the Madrid conference in 1991, direct talks began between Israel and Syria. Syria's main demand was for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, the plateau overlooking the Sea of Galilee that Israel had captured in 1967.

Israel responded that it was prepared to negotiate a withdrawal but the extent and timing of that withdrawal depended on Syria agreeing to a peace treaty and to an extended period of normalisation of relations first. Any agreement would also have to be accepted in a referendum in Israel.

Syria claims that in talks in 1995, the then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin agreed to a total pullback. However, the Israelis say this was only a theoretical acceptance and that it depended on the full normalisation of relations, a condition that Syria, it claims, did not accept.

An unofficial agreement between Israeli and Syrian private citizens was reported to have been reached in 2006 but this has not led to talks between the two governments.

Israeli talks with Lebanon took place after Madrid but have stalled, complicated by border disputes and, more recently, last year's war between Israel and Hezbollah. Any Israeli treaty with Lebanon is expected to have to wait until after one with Syria, given Syria's influence in Lebanon.

The Oslo negotiations tried to tackle the missing element of all previous talks - a direct agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, represented by the PLO.

Its importance was that there was finally mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO.

The talks took place in secret under Norwegian auspices and the agreement was signed on the White House lawn on 13 September 1993, witnessed by President Bill Clinton.

The PLO leader Yasser Arafat and the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shook hands.

The agreement was that Israeli troops would withdraw in stages from the West Bank and Gaza, that a "Palestinian Interim Self-Governing Authority" would be set up for a five-year transitional period, leading to a permanent settlement based on resolutions 242 and 338.

The agreement spoke of putting "an end to decades of confrontation and conflict" and of each side recognising "their mutual legitimate and political rights".

Therefore, though not stated explicitly in the text, the implication was that a state of Palestine would one day be set up alongside Israel.

There was an exchange of letters in which Yasser Arafat stated: "The PLO recognises the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security." Yitzhak Rabin said: "The Government of Israel has decided to recognise the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people."

Hamas and other Palestinian rejectionist groups did not accept Oslo and launched suicide bomb attacks on Israelis. There was opposition within Israel from settler-led groups. Oslo was only partially implemented.

Various attempts were made (including at Taba in 1995, the Wye River in 1998 and Sharm el-Sheikh in 1999) to speed up the withdrawal and self-government provisions of Oslo.

Then in 2000, President Bill Clinton sought to address the final status issues - including borders, Jerusalem and refugees - that Oslo had left on one side for later negotiation.

The talks took place in July between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.

There was no agreement. However, the negotiations were more detailed than ever before.

The basic problem was that the maximum Israel offered was less than the minimum the Palestinians could accept.

Israel offered the Gaza Strip, a large part of the West Bank, plus extra land from the Negev desert, while keeping major settlement blocks and most of East Jerusalem. It proposed Islamic guardianship of key sites in the Old City of Jerusalem and contributions to a fund for Palestinian refugees.

The Palestinians wanted to start with a reversion to the lines of 1967, offered the Israelis rights over the Jewish quarter of the Old City and wanted recognition of the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees.

The failure at Camp David was followed by a renewal of the Palestinian uprising or intifada.

Although he was about to leave office, Bill Clinton refused to give up and he presented a "bridging proposal" which set up further talks in Washington and Cairo and then Taba in Egypt.

These talks were not at the top level, but differences were narrowed without being overcome. There was more flexibility on territory and it was reported by EU observers that Israeli negotiators accepted the concept of East Jerusalem being the capital of a Palestinian state. A statement afterwards said that "it proved impossible to reach understandings on all issues".

The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, fighting an election campaign, said that "nothing is agreed upon until everything is agreed upon " and said that he could not commit a subsequent government to what he called the "ideas" coming out of the talks. With the election of Ariel Sharon in February 2001, time ran out.

After the failure of bilateral talks and the resumption of conflict, the Saudi peace plan presented at an Arab summit in Beirut in March 2002 went back to a multilateral approach and in particular signalled a desire by the Arab world as a whole to put an end to this dispute.

Under the plan, Israel would withdraw to the lines of June 1967, a Palestinian state would be set up in the West Bank and Gaza and there would be a "just solution" of the refugee issue. In return, Arab countries would recognise Israel.

The plan was re-endorsed by another Arab summit in Riyadh in 2007.

Its strength is the support given by Arab countries to a two-state solution. Its weakness is that the parties have to negotiate the same issues on which they have failed so far.

The road map is a plan drawn up by the "Quartet" - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. It does not lay down the details of a final settlement, but suggests how a settlement might be approached.

It followed efforts made by US Senator George Mitchell to get the peace process back on track in 2001.

The plan was preceded by an important statement in June 2002 by President George W Bush who became the first US president to call for a Palestinian state. The road map tries to lay down conditions for its achievement.

It proposed a phased timetable, putting the establishment of security before a final settlement. It is designed to create confidence, leading to final status talks.

  • Phase 1: Both sides would issue statements supporting the two-state solution, the Palestinians would end violence, act against "all those engaged in terror", draw up a constitution, hold elections and the Israelis would stop settlement activities and act with military restraint
  • Phase two: Would see the creation, at an international conference, of a Palestinian state with "provisional borders"
  • Phase 3: Final agreement talks.

The road map has not been implemented. Its timetable called for the final agreement to be reached in 2005. It has been overtaken by events.

While official efforts foundered, an informal agreement was announced in December 2003 by Israeli and Palestinian figures - Yossi Beilin, one of the architects of Oslo, on the Israeli side, and former Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo on the other.

It reverses the concept of the Road Map, in which the growth of security and confidence precede a political agreement and puts the agreement first, which is then designed to produce security and peace.

Its main compromise is that the Palestinians effectively give up their "right of return" in exchange for almost the whole of the West Bank, though there could be a token return by a few. Israel would give up some major settlements such as Ariel, but keep others closer to the border, with swaps of land in Israel for any taken in the West Bank.

Palestinians would have the right to have their capital in East Jerusalem, though with Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall in the Old City. The Geneva agreement has no official status.

Another unofficial agreeemnt was one drawn up by a former head of the Israeli Shin Bet internal security service Ami Ayalon and a former PLO representative in Jerusalem Sari Nusseibeh. This envisaged a return to the 1967 lines, an open city of Jerusalem and an end to the Palestinian claim to a right of return to former homes.


American History

The Camp David Accords of 1978 was a ground-breaking event in the history of the world. This accord helped bring some measure of peace in the troubled Middle East as the respective leaders of Egypt and Israel, President Anwar Sadat and Primie Minister Menachem Begin, took initial steps in dialogue which led to the Accords with American President Jimmy Carter acting as mediator.

Prior to the Accords, Israel and Egypt, along with its allies in the Arab League, have been at war with Israel on four occasions. The 1967 Six-Day War was an Israeli victory that proved costly for the Egyptians as they lost the Sinai Peninsula which they were not able to regain in the following Yom Kippur War despite the improved showing of the Egyptian forces against the Israelis. It was during this war that Sadat assumed power following the death of Gamal Abdel Nasser. It was also during the start of his administration that he expelled Soviet advisers from his country as well after being constantly courted by the American government as part of bringing peace to the volatile region (Quandt, 25). The Americans felt that Sadat was a more amiable person to deal with than Nasser who was a rabid Pan-Arabic nationalist whose policies were anathema to Washingtons foreign policy.

Peace initiatives have been considered by all parties concerned. On the part of the Americans, President Carter wanted to get the Middle East peace initiative started after getting stalled during the election campaign. Carter, an avowed pacifist owing to his deep religiosity, wanted to bring peace to the Middle East partly for sentimental reasons. And his initiatives are consistent to his religious beliefs of beating swords into ploughshares. But several complications have stalled American efforts in getting the peace initiatives going because of the repercussions at the world state. Because of the perceived foot-dragging of the Americans, Sadat took the initiative by announcing his willingness to visit Israel which he did 10 days later, taking a very bold but risky step in mending the proverbial fences with its enemy. On the part of the Israelis, they too were tired of fighting and despite their successes and the spoils of war they have reaped, they were paying a heavy price for being occupiers and the leaders then sought the help of its Arab neighbors in dealing with the Palestinian problem which no Arab nation, not even the moderate ones would entertain as they were all united in their goal of destroying the Jewish nation and to entertain Israel would be tantamount to being branded a traitor by their Arab brothers. When Sadat said he was coming over, the Israelis did not hesitate to receive him, thereby showing that they are not belligerent to Arab nations at all. Any hope they had in getting friendly with Egypt was dashed after Sadats speech to the Knesset (Parliament) which reflected no change in Egypts stand on the current issues they were facing (Bard, 232). One of the issues Israel was willing to deal with the Egyptians was the return of the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for recognizing Israeli settlements there.

This had led to a stand off between the two nations which prompted Carter to take the initiative and invite the two leaders to his presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland to resume the talks though behind closed doors. Because of the tense antipathy between the Begin and Sadat, Carter had to approach them individually, willingly acting as a go-between as the two leaders would not speak to one another (Hahn, 62). This would go on until the 12th day when Carter finally got the two leaders to agree on something. Israel agreed to relinquish the Sinai to Egypt with the United States offering to help rebuild its military installations in the Negev. In addition, Israel was to freeze settlements in the region. On the part of Egypt, Sadat was willing to act as representative to the Palestinians in consultations with the Israelis on a condition that Israel recognizes the Palestinians which they were reluctant to do since they were considered terrorists. Sadat and Begin also agreed to send ambassadors to each other in 9 months after the agreement (Bard, 238). On the 17th of September, all three leaders signed the agreement which would be the Camp David Accords. A year later, a formal peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was signed in Washington.

The Accords and the Treaty were hailed as a successful breakthrough in bringing about peace in the region though not that big yet. It was a strategic victory in the sense that Egypt was taken out of the equation as far as Israels enemies were concerned. The United States, Egypts new ally would see to that and at the same time, resume providing economic and technical aid to the country following Sadats expulsion of the Soviets. While Sadat was hailed as a hero in the world for his initiatives, he was reviled and branded a traitor by extremists in the region and he eventually paid for it with his life in 1981 when he was assassinated (Quandt, 64). Nonetheless, the Accords and Treaty was only the beginning and in 1995, Israel and Palestine finally brokered a peace treaty in the White House Lawn as Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat finally made peace with President Bill Clinton presiding. Like Sadat, Rabin would also pay the price for making peace with his life. Despite the continuing threats, efforts have been made to bring peace in the region, especially by those living there.


What are the Camp David Accords? (with picture)

As one of his top foreign policy initiatives, then President of the United States Jimmy Carter was determined to restart the Mideast peace process. The first approach was to revisit the 1973 Geneva Accords — a flawed agreement that came on the heels of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Carter's hopes were for a multilateral, comprehensive agreement that would involve a Palestinian delegation in the talks. Though the Camp David Accords resulted in another flawed treaty, there were lasting positive consequences as well.

To lay the groundwork for the talks, Carter visited with Anwar Sadat of Egypt, King Hussein of Jordan, Hafez al-Assad of Syria, and Yitzhak Rabin of Israel. The playing field took a tilt with the election of Menachem Begin's Alignment party in Israel. Though Begin was a vocal advocate of the Camp David Accords, he was also firmly opposed to any pullout from Israel's West Bank. The Israeli prime minister was willing to negotiate on many other concessions, even returning the Sinai to the Palestinians, but he stood firm on the West Bank.

One of the first initiatives came from Egyptian President Sadat, who broke with his Arab neighbors and Communist sponsors by offering to travel anywhere, "even to Jerusalem," to discuss terms. His decision was driven by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) initiatives to help Egypt's struggling economy, as well as a desire to put Egypt's own self-interests ahead of those of neighboring Arab states. Among the American negotiating teams, much of the burden fell on Carter himself to act as intermediary and help broker much of the agreement between Sadat and Begin, who weren't even on speaking terms. After 13 days of sometimes-tense negotiations, the framework for 1979's Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty was in place.

The final agreement had three parts where the first part called for an autonomous self-governing authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In the second part, withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula was included — Israel returned the land to Egypt in return for normalized diplomatic relations between the countries. The third part of the agreement included substantial economic, military, and agricultural aid to both Egypt and Israel. Military aid was a coup in that it took Russia out of the picture when it came to Egyptian armaments.

Generally, the Camp David Accords led to a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt, and a completely different perception of Egypt in the Arab world Egypt was expelled from the Arab League from 1979 to 1989. It disintegrated the united Arab front by taking a key player out of the picture. Also, it led to a vacuum in the region that gave rise to Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, and made the Palestinian issue the focus of any future Arab/Israeli policy. The Camp David Accords also made Sadat such a pariah that he was assassinated in 1981.


58c. Foreign Woes


Palestinian terrorists &mdash like the one seen above &mdash were responsible for the murder of 11 Israeli athletes, coaches, and judges during the 1972 Olympics. The terrorists were hoping to force the release of 200 Arabs being held in Israeli prisons.

America sank deeper into malaise when it looked around at what was going on in the rest of the world.

The decade began with America's longest war ending in its first decisive military defeat in its 200-year-history. Diplomacy seemed powerless to stop the economic dependence of the United States on the volatile Middle East for a steady supply of oil. Terrorists from this region and others threatened heads of state and ordinary citizens around the globe. Despite an auspicious start, relations with the Soviet Union deteriorated by the end of the decade.


Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was the impetus for the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by the Iranian government. The terrorists demanded the return of their former leader Pahlavi in exchange for the lives of 52 American hostages.

Terrorism was on the rise around the globe. The world watched in horror as Arab gunmen cut down eleven Israeli weightlifters at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) killed thousands of English and Irish citizens attempting to receive recognition for their cause &mdash an independent homeland. Americans began to see the world slipping into anarchy and felt powerless to fix the problem.

In 1979, the new Islamic fundamentalist government of Iran captured 52 Americans at the US Embassy in Tehran . They demanded the return of their former leader, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi , to Iran in exchange for the lives of the hostages. For 444 days, Americans watched helplessly as their fellow citizens were held in confinement. A rescue effort ordered by President Carter crashed in the desert in April 1980.


Though Jimmy Carter's presidency is often remembered for creating a sense of "malaise" throughout America, Carter was able to take a great step towards peace in the Middle East. Here, Carter, Anwar Sadat, and Menachem Begin celebrate the signing of the Camp David Accords.

One exception to these negative trends was the Camp David Agreement , brokered by Carter in 1978. These accords resulted in the mutual recognition of Israel and Egypt, a giant first step toward a lasting peace.

But the U.S.-USSR détente arranged by Nixon and Kissinger was crumbling by the end of the decade. A second arms limitation treaty between the superpowers known as SALT II was delivered to the Senate &mdash only to be rejected. The USSR had surpassed the United States in nuclear warheads. The Cold War became frostier.


After the Iranian government took 52 Americans hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, President Carter mounted a rescue effort that ended in tragedy. Eight American pilots participating in "Operation Eagle Claw" lost their lives when two aircraft collided.

A Marxist revolution in Nicaragua brought greater fears of communism spreading to the Western Hemisphere. Finally, in 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan with combat troops from the Red Army. Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev promised that Afghani leaders had requested military assistance, but American diplomats were dubious.

Fearing Soviet expansion into the Middle East, the Carter Administration strongly condemned the action and levied a wheat boycott on the Soviet Union. The 1980 Olympic Games held in Moscow were boycotted by the United States.

America's claim to dominant status in the world had been seriously challenged, by the end of the 1970s.

So, Americans started looking inward, inside themselves, in the hope of feeling better.


The Camp David Accords, 40 years later

Forty years ago, President Jimmy Carter hosted Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at a U.S. presidential retreat, Camp David, in rural Maryland.

Modern Egyptians and Israelis continue to reap the benefits of the progress made there.

After 12 days of negotiations between Sadat and Begin with Carter serving as mediator, the two leaders signed the Camp David Accords on September 17, 1978. That earned Sadat and Begin a shared Nobel Peace Prize, and also led to the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.

Michael Singh, a Middle East policy expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, described how the Accords reshaped the region’s political landscape.

“The Camp David Accords marked a vital transition for Egypt and Israel and the broader region, from a state of near-constant conflict to an era of peacemaking,” he said. “While the region still has serious problems, the Accords helped to usher in greater prosperity for people on all sides and eliminated a major threat to regional peace and stability.”

In the years before Camp David, four major wars erupted between Egypt and Israel. In the 40 years since, the two countries have remained at peace — saving countless lives.

The Accords ensured that both Egypt and Israel achieved their primary goals: Egypt regained the Sinai Peninsula that Israel had captured during the Six-Day War in 1967, while Israel received its first formal recognition from an Arab state.

The Accords also created stronger security and economic relationships between the United States and the parties to the agreements. “Today, Egypt and Israel are two of the United States’ closest security partners, not just in the region but in the world,” Singh said.

During the past 40 years, Egypt and Israel have established important trade ties with each other in agricultural technology, tourism and energy development, as well as military and intelligence cooperation.

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, left, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, center, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin clasp hands at the White House after signing the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel on March 26, 1979. (© Bob Daugherty/AP Images)

Getting to ‘yes’ — and its aftermath

It’s easy to take the Accords’ benefits for granted now, but when negotiations were underway at Camp David, the outcome was far from certain.

Carter, however, was determined that the two parties should reach an agreement. So he took a personal approach to the often-tense discussions.

He inquired about Begin’s grandchildren, moving the Israeli leader to reflect on the need to improve conditions for the future. Carter even took Sadat and Begin to visit the Gettysburg National Military Park, using the American Civil War as a simile for Egypt’s and Israel’s struggles.

Although the Accords didn’t suddenly erase Arab-Israeli discord, the agreement created a foundation that 21st-century diplomats can build on, Singh said.

“The Camp David Accords embody a model for peacemaking that remains highly relevant today — determined leadership combined with an ability to see beyond narrow issues on the table and envision the benefits that peace and stability would bring,” he said. The Accords “teach us that diplomacy can bring not only an end to war, but greater prosperity and opportunity for all involved.”


Watch the video: Four decades on, Camp David Accords failing to bring peace? Al Jazeera English (December 2022).

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