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The conflict between Egypt and Israel in the 1970’s was not an
isolated case. Israel and the Arab countries around it have had strained
relations since the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. Since the
1948 Palestine War which Israeli’s referred to ‘Israeli War of
Independence’, Egypt has always teamed up with the Arab countries in
the Middle East to attack Israel.
During the war, Arabic countries including Egypt scrambled for portions
in Palestine to control. Jordan took over the West Bank while Egypt held
on the Gaza Strip. In 1956, conflict arose concerning the Suez Canal.
Initially, the Suez Canal was a joint operation by Israeli, French and
British Forces. When President Nasser of Egypt decided to nationalize
the canal, investors using the canal were affected by the restrictions.
Israel attacked Egypt claiming to act in defense of Israeli civilians
who were oppressed and to restore shipping rights through the Straits of
Tiran. Israel organized and launched the Six-Day war in 1967. They
wanted to reclaim the territories under siege and revolt against the
broken international diplomatic agreements depicted by Egypt’s closure
of the Straits of Tiran. The United Nations peacekeeping forces (UNEF)
came in to control the situation and end the war. Israel conquered the
Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.
Seeing that the war against Egypt had worked in their favor, Israel
organized for the conquest of the West Bank and the Golan Heights (Bie,
2012). They succeeded to reclaim them from Jordan and Syria
respectively. The United Nations Security Council had noticed the trend
and acted to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. They did so by adopting
Resolution 242 that the warring countries accepted.
Still in an effort to maintain peace William P. Rogers, the then U.S
Secretary of State came up with the Rogers Plan. The plan called for a
ninety-day ceasefire and military standstill zones on both sides of the
Suez Canal. Egypt accepted, and the government was ready to negotiate
with Israel based on the Rogers Plan, but Israel refused. Rivalry
continued and in 1967 Egypt initiated the War of Attrition. This was an
attempt to crumble Israel’s morale and their economy in revenge for
their victory in the Six-day War. The War of Attrition continued until
1970 when it ended with a ceasefire.
Several other conflicts ensued that continued to brew more rivalry
between Israel and Egypt. One such conflict was the Yom Kippur War which
was collaboration between Egypt and Syria to Israel on the Jewish day of
fasting. Israeli troops retaliated and defeated the attacking Syrian and
Egyptian troops. This led to a reopening of the Suez Canal. This war
dealt a tremendous blow to Egypt and Syria’s morale, and they also
suffered substantial casualties.
This point necessitated action to resolve the cyclic conflicts between
Egypt and Israel. Negotiations began between the two governments. The
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the Israeli Prime Minister Menachem
Begin negotiated secretly for thirteen days at Camp David. When they
came to an agreement, they signed the Camp David Accord on September
17th 1978 in the Whitehouse with US President Jimmy Carter acting as a
witness (Menachem, 1978). Sadat and Begin received the 1978 shared Nobel
Peace Prize for their effort to bring peace.
The signing of the Camp David Accord opened the way for other peace
frameworks to be established (Findlay & Thagard). In 1979, the
Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty was signed. Parties to the Camp David Accord
and the subsequent peace frameworks included the US president Jimmy
Carter, Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat, King Hussein of Jordan, and
the Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad (Mangle & Langone, 2005). These
frameworks brought hope for diplomatic engagement in the future conflict
resolution and brought calmness between the two countries after a long
time.
References
Bie, S. (2012). From Sinai to the Golan Heights: A comparative analysis
of Israel peace
negotiations. Oslo: University of Oslo.
Educational Video Group Incorporation, (1978, September 18). Speech
vault: Camp David
Accords, Jimmy Carter. Educational Video Group Incorporation. Retrieved
September 12, 2013,
from HYPERLINK
“http://www.speeches-usa.com/Transcripts/jimmy_carter-campdavid.html”
http://www.speeches-usa.com/Transcripts/jimmy_carter-campdavid.html
Findlay, D. & Thagard, P. (2011). Emotional change in international
negotiation: Analyzing the
Camp David using cognitive-effective maps. Berlin: Springer Publisher.
Mangle, A. & Langone, C. (2005). Jimmy Carter: Discovering the soul of a
leader through an
investigation of personality traits. Athens: University of Georgia.
Menachem, B. (1978). Camp David Accord. Sabillasville: The Government of
Israel.
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