Camp David Accords (September 17, 1978)

Camp David Accords (September 17, 1978)

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Signed at Washington on September 17, 1978, thecamp david accordsend more than 30 years of conflict between Israel and Egypt set the stage for a peace treaty between the two countries. These agreements, mediated by US President Jimmy Carter, enabled Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to jointly win the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize. " Establishing peace is the only way to be true to our culture and our faith. No more wars, no more bloodshed, between Arabs and Israelis. »Declared Sadat in Washington during the signing of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty on March 26, 1979.

Sadat takes the initiative

The Camp David accords are the result of the personal initiative of Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, Nasser's successor. After the Yom Kippur War in 1973, President Sadat sought to resolve a conflict which had been going on since 1947. In November 1977, he went to Israel; on the 20th, he delivered a speech to the Knesset calling for a “just and lasting peace”.

The impact of this personal gesture is enormous. In Israel, he is obviously applauded: for the first time in thirty years, it seems that an agreement can be reached with a bitter opponent of Israel; in the Arab countries, the condemnation is almost unanimous and leads to the formation of a front of rejection around Syria.

Laborious negotiations

Negotiations are laborious, and the intervention of US President Jimmy Carter is repeatedly needed to consolidate the Egyptian president's position. It was not until July 1978, at the tripartite conference in Leeds, which brought together the foreign ministers of Israel, Egypt and the United States, that a solution began to be seen. From September 5 to 17, 1978, Israeli and Egyptian negotiators set the framework for the agreement, and on September 17, Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin initialed the agreements.

The framework of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt is defined at the price of major concessions by Israel which accepts for the first time that the solution of the conflict passes by the recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people. Joint negotiations must be initiated with the leaders of the Palestinian people and the Kingdom of Jordan on the autonomy and future status of the occupied territories. Under the agreements, Israel pledges to return all of Sinai, but not the Gaza Strip, which was Egyptian territory before 1947.

Negotiations then resumed slowly, and the final peace treaty was signed on March 26, 1979. The exchange of ambassadors took place in February 1980, and the entire peace process was not completed until 1982.

The consequences of the Camp David accords

For'Egypt these agreements meant, in addition to the retrocession of the Sinai by Israel (effective in 1982), the possibility of benefiting from the military and financial support of the United States, an essential objective of Egyptian diplomacy since the Kipur war (if not before) . However, it should be emphasized that peace with Israel caused Egypt to lose its status as leader of the Arab world and to provoke indignation within the latter's public opinion. President Anwar Sadat, assassinated on October 6, 1981 by Egyptian soldiers during a parade, paid with his life for his commitment to peace. These separate agreements, which do not settle the Palestinian question, isolate Egypt for a time, but a taboo has been broken: the enemies have started talking to each other.

As for Israel these agreements were an opportunity to break the encirclement of the country and to devote more resources to securing the occupied territories (West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan, etc.). While the peace between Egypt and Israel has proved to be lasting and profitable for both parties, the other objectives of the Camp David accords will have been ignored. Indeed, these agreements were intended to lay the basis for negotiations on the future fate of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It was not until the Madrid Conference (1991) that these finally began ...


- Peace and War in the Middle East, by Henry Laurens. Armand Colin, 2005.

- 60 years of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Testimonies for History, by Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Shimon Peres. Complex Editions, 2006.

Video: The Camp David Accords


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