Last updated on: 6/26/2008 1:03:00 PM PST

What Were the 1978 Camp David Accords?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (left), US President Jimmy Carter (center), and
Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (right) at Camp David, Sep. 1978

Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel, met with Jimmy Carter, President of the United States of America, at Camp David from Sep. 5 to Sep. 17, 1978, and agreed on the following framework for peace in the Middle East. They invited other parties in the Arab-Israel conflict to adhere to it:

"Preamble The search for peace in the Middle East must be guided by the following:

  • The agreed basis for a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Israel and its neighbors is United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, in all its parts.

  • After four wars during 30 years, despite intensive human efforts, the Middle East, which is the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of three great religions, does not enjoy the blessings of peace. The people of the Middle East yearn for peace so that the vast human and natural resources of the region can be turned to the pursuits of peace and so that this area can become a model for coexistence and cooperation among nations.

  • The historic initiative of President Sadat in visiting Jerusalem and the reception accorded to him by the parliament, government and people of Israel, and the reciprocal visit of Prime Minister Begin to Ismailia, the peace proposals made by both leaders, as well as the warm reception of these missions by the peoples of both countries, have created an unprecedented opportunity for peace which must not be lost if this generation and future generations are to be spared the tragedies of war.

  • The provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and the other accepted norms of international law and legitimacy now provide accepted standards for the conduct of relations among all states.

  • To achieve a relationship of peace, in the spirit of Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, future negotiations between Israel and any neighbor prepared to negotiate peace and security with it are necessary for the purpose of carrying out all the provisions and principles of Resolutions 242 and 338.

  • Peace requires respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force. Progress toward that goal can accelerate movement toward a new era of reconciliation in the Middle East marked by cooperation in promoting economic development, in maintaining stability and in assuring security.

  • Security is enhanced by a relationship of peace and by cooperation between nations which enjoy normal relations. In addition, under the terms of peace treaties, the parties can, on the basis of reciprocity, agree to special security arrangements such as demilitarized zones, limited armaments areas, early warning stations, the presence of international forces, liaison, agreed measures for monitoring and other arrangements that they agree are useful."

  • Sep. 17, 1978 - 1978 Camp David Accords

    Kendall W. Stiles, PhD, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Loyola University in Chicago, in his 2004 book Case Histories in International Politics, wrote:

    "On September 5, 1978, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel and their delegations arrived at the U.S. presidential retreat in Maryland, Camp David, for a series of fateful meetings with President Jimmy Carter and his entourage...

    From the perspective of more than two decades after the accords were negotiated, the central issues that dominated the talks and their aftermath are clear. Would there be a bilateral accord between Egypt and Israel, linked vaguely (if at all) to an accord on the future of the West Bank and Gaza? Or would a comprehensive settlement address all facets of the Arab-Israeli conflict, from the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinians to elaborate security arrangements and normal relations among all the players (the approach Carter's advisors favored)?...

    Following ten days of successive one-on-one meetings with Begin and Sadat, Carter began to develop the essential feature of an agreement that would leave the Gaza and West Bank issues largely unresolved at Sadat's suggestion...

    Carter's persistence paid off. An agreement was reached, even though the final tradeoffs were specific only with reference to the Sinai and they downgraded the link between the bilateral accord and the future of the occupied territories [Gaza and the West Bank], including Jerusalem...

    The thirteen days at Camp David had produced a framework outlining transitional arrangements of the West Bank and Gaza, an agreement by Egypt and Israel to sign a peace treaty within three months, and a specific plan for the return of the Sinai to Egypt with demilitarized zones and international policing of strategically sensitive areas."

    2004 - Kendall W. Stiles, PhD 

    Howard M. Sachar, PhD, Professor of History at George Washington University, in his 1987 A History of Israel: Volume II, wrote:

    "The two components of agreement were entitled, rather elaborately, a 'Framework for Peace in the Middle East,' and a 'Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel.' Under this curious joint rubric, it was the second framework that related exclusively to Egyptian-Israeli matters, and that provided for recognition of Egyptian sovereignty up to the old international Sinai-Palestine border; evacuation of Israeli bases and settlements from the Sinai; the right of Israeli maritime passage through the Gulf of Suez, the Suez Canal, the Strait of Tiran, and the Gulf of Aqaba; and construction of a highway between Sinai and Jordan near Eilat, with guaranteed right of passage by Egypt and Jordan. More detailed features provided for a phased withdrawal of Israeli troops, to be completed between two and three years after ratification of the peace treaty; for limited Egyptian forces in certain key areas; for United Nations forces in other specified zones; and, following ratification of the treaty and completion of the first phase of Israeli withdrawal (after nine months), the establishment of diplomatic relations between Egypt and Israel. map, created using information from the CIA World Factbook

    It was a good arrangement for both sides. The Egyptians were guaranteed return of all their land. The Israelis won assurance that, for three years after treaty ratification, 40 percent of the Sinai would remain in their hands. For at least two of those three years, moreover, normalized relations would be maintained between Egypt and Israel, including open borders and commercial and cultural interchange...

    Meanwhile, preceding the Egyptian-Israeli accord was a distinctly more complex 'framework' for dealing with the West Bank and Gaza. It envisaged nothing less than the resolution of 'the Palestine problem in all its aspects.' Here, three stages of negotiations were outlined. In the first, Egypt, Israel, and Jordan (or Egypt and Israel alone, if Jordan chose not to participate) would lay the ground rules for electing a 'self-governing authority' in the territories, and for defining the authority's powers. In the second stage, a transitional five-year period would begin once the self-governing authority was established and functioning; and Israel would dismantle its military government in the territories, withdrawing its troops to specified security locations. In the third stage -- and not later than one year after the onset of the transitional period -- discussions would be launched between Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and elected representatives of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, to determine the final status of the territories. Thereafter a separate committee of Israelis, Jordanians, and elected West Bank and Gaza Arabs would negotiate a formal peace treaty between Israel and Jordan. In the discussions, appropriate attention would be given 'the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.'"

    Full Text: 1978 Camp David Accords

    1987 - Howard M. Sachar, PhD