Sep17th, 1978

The Camp David Accords signed by the Egyptian President and Israeli Prime Minister

The Camp David Accords were a pair of political agreements signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on 17 September 1978, following twelve days of secret negotiations at Camp David, the country retreat of the President of the United States in Maryland. The two framework agreements were signed at the White House and were witnessed by President Jimmy Carter. The second of these frameworks (A Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel) led directly to the 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty. Due to the agreement, Sadat and Begin received the shared 1978 Nobel Peace Prize. The first framework (A Framework for Peace in the Middle East), which dealt with the Palestinian territories, was written without participation of the Palestinians and was condemned by the United Nations.

Historian Jørgen Jensehaugen argues that by the time Carter left office in January 1981, he:

was in an odd position—he had attempted to break with traditional US policy but ended up fulfilling the goals of that tradition, which had been to break up the Arab alliance, side-line the Palestinians, build an alliance with Egypt, weaken the Soviet Union and secure Israel.

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.

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.

Compiled by: DurreShahwar


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