The Camp David Accords
Anwar Sadat’s peace initiative seemed to indicate that there was a chance for an Arab-Israeli peace, or at the very least some normalisation of relations between Israel and Egypt. As promising as the prospect of achieving a lasting peace seemed, however, the countries were still at an impasse over a number of vital issues, including self-determination for the Palestinians and Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula. Negotiations floundered, and seemed to be in danger of collapsing altogether.
At this point, in mid-1978, American President Jimmy Carter invited Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to the presidential retreat known as Camp David to continue negotiations. The process was fraught with tension, and several times it seemed that either Begin or Sadat would walk out. With Carter’s facilitation, however, the 13 days of talks eventually produced results. The result became known as the Camp David Accords.
Two agreements were reached between Egypt and Israel in September 1978. One was titled “Framework for Peace in the Middle East,” the other, “Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel.” As the names suggest, the first accord was an outline for a peace initiative in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the second an outline for a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. An important element of the accord meant to establish peace in the Middle East was self-determination for the Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza. Likewise, a crucial element of the accord aimed at a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel involved an Israeli pullout from the Sinai Peninsula.
While both Sadat and Begin received Nobel Peace Prizes for their work on the Camp David Accords, the Accords themselves were only a partial success, and a permanent peace for the Middle East remained elusive.