Camp David I and II: Negotiation Similarities/Differences

Essay by KavehUniversity, Master'sA+, March 2003

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Camp David I - Negotiations between Israel and Egypt -1978

A dramatic event took place in November of 1977. Anwar Sadat decided to visit Jerusalem, which set in motion a series of developments which were to have far-reaching implications for the Arab-Israeli conflict, including its central Palestinian dimension. Sadat's policies during the period following the 1973 war had reflected a desire for an accommodation with Israel. Indeed, the Egyptian president was strongly criticized by Syrian, Palestinian, and other Arab leaders for agreeing to a second disengagement of forces in Sinai. Fearing that he would attempt to recover the Sinai Peninsula by seeking a separate accord with the Jewish state, these Arab leaders accused Sadat of undermining Arab unity and thereby playing to Israeli hands. Only by working together, they maintained, could all of the territory lost in 1967 be regained; and indeed, as confirmed by some Israeli analysts, Jerusalem was in fact attempting to give itself a freer hand in the eventual disposition of the occupied territories by dividing the Arabs, and also by weakening their bargaining position through the elimination of a military threat from Egypt.

Sadat replied to his critics by insisting that he was not seeking a separate peace with Israel, even though he also gave increasingly clear indications that he was indeed interested in a settlement and believed that this could be achieved only by political means.

At the time, Sadat's bargaining position was very low. He was facing domestic protests, economic uncertainty in Egypt, and a recent loss in a major war against Israel. Sadat reasoned that negotiating with Israel would make it possible to reduce military spending and increase development-related spending, to obtain expanded assistance from the United States attracting more private foreign investment, and to complete the rebuilding of Ismailia and other Egyptian...