Palestine: Part 22 – Camp David Accords
Camp David Accords
The Camp David Accords were signed on September 17, 1978 following thirteen days of secret negotiations at Camp David. The two framework agreements were signed at the White House, and were witnessed by United States 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, Egyptian President Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem 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 had little impact and was condemned by the United Nations.
West Bank and Gaza
Egypt and Israel agreed that there should be transitional arrangements for the West Bank and Gaza for a period not exceeding five years. The Israeli military government and its civilian administration would be withdrawn as soon as a self-governing authority has been freely elected by the inhabitants of these areas to replace the existing military government.
Egypt, Israel, and Jordan will agree on how to establish elected self-governing authority in the West Bank and Gaza. Egypt and Jordan may include Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza or other Palestinians as mutually agreed. Powers and responsibilities of the self-governing authority to be exercised in the West Bank and Gaza were to be defined.
A withdrawal of Israeli armed forces would take place and a redeployment of remaining Israeli forces into specified security locations. Included are arrangements for assuring internal and external security and public order. A strong local police force will be established, which may include Jordanian citizens. Israeli and Jordanian forces would participate in joint patrols and in the manning of control posts to assure the security of the borders.
When the self-governing authority (administrative council) in the West Bank and Gaza is established and inaugurated, the transitional period of five years will begin. No later than the third year after the beginning of the transitional period, negotiations will take place to determine the final status of the West Bank and Gaza and its relationship with its neighbors and to conclude a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan by the end of the transitional period.
These negotiations will be conducted among Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the elected representatives of the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza. The negotiations were based on all the provisions and principles of UN Security Council Resolution 242. The negotiations will resolve, among other matters, the location of the boundaries and the nature of the security arrangements. The solution from the negotiations must also recognize the legitimate right of the Palestinian people and their just requirements.
The framework concerned autonomy of the inhabitants of West Bank and Gaza. It didn’t mention the status of Jerusalem, nor the Palestinian Right of Return.
The UN General Assembly rejected the Framework for Peace in the Middle East, because the agreement was concluded without participation of UN and PLO and did not comply with the Palestinian right of return, nor of self-determination and to national independence and sovereignty. In Resolution 33/28 A, the U.N. declared agreements were only valid if they are within the framework of the United Nations and its Charter and its resolutions, include the Palestinian right of return and the right to national independence and sovereignty in Palestine, and concluded with the participation of the PLO.
The time that has elapsed since the Camp David Accords has left no doubt as to their enormous ramifications on Middle Eastern politics. They led to the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat by dissatisfied Islamic extremists from within Egypt. The group was outraged over the president’s decision to make peace with Israel.
The perception of Egypt within the Arab world changed. With the most powerful of the Arab militaries and a history of leadership in the Arab world under Nasser, Egypt had more leverage than any of the other Arab states to advance Arab interests. Egypt was subsequently suspended from the Arab League from 1979 until 1989.
Jordan’s objective to reassert its control over the West Bank was circumscribed. Focusing as it did on Egypt, the Carter administration accepted Sadat’s claim that he could deliver Hussein. However, with Arab world opposition building against Sadat, Jordan could not risk accepting the Accords without the support from powerful Arab neighbours, like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. That’s a burn diplomatically.
The united Arab front in opposition to Israel disintegrated. Egypt’s realignment created a power vacuum that Saddam Hussein of Iraq, at one time only a secondary power, hoped to fill.
Because of the vague language concerning the implementation of Resolution 242, the Palestinian problem became the primary issue in the Arab-Israeli conflict immediately following and in my opinion until today). Many of the Arab nations blamed Egypt for not putting enough pressure on Israel to deal with the Palestinian problem in a way that would be satisfactory to them. Syria also informed Egypt that it would not reconcile with the nation unless it abandoned the peace agreement with Israel
The success of Begin, Sadat, and Carter at Camp David demonstrated to other Arab states and entities that negotiations with Israel were possible—that progress results only from sustained efforts at communication and cooperation. Future attempts at negotiations would not be possible without Camp David.
Palestine: Part 23 – Venice Declaration