The Camp David Accords (September 1978) and the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty (March 1979)

Since its establishment in 1948, the principle of direct negotiations has been a cornerstone of Israel's foreign policy. Israel's efforts to meet face to face with the Arabs were, however, rejected: the Arab states were not prepared for direct negotiation with Israel.

In November 1977, Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, accepted the invitation of the newly elected Israeli Prime Minister, Menahem Begin for face-to-face dialogue and came to Jerusalem. Sadat's historical trip to Jerusalem marked a decisive turning point in the Arab-Israel conflict.

On September 17, 1978, twelve days of secret negotiations between Israel and Egypt at Camp David, the American presidential retreat in Marlyland, were concluded by the signing of two agreements at the White House.

  • In the first agreement, both sides declared the termination of the state of war between the two countries. In return for peace and normal relations, Israel agreed to withdraw from Sinai and Gaza Strip.
  • In the second agreement both sides agreed to negotiate Palestinian measures in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Gaza Strip.

The Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty was signed on March 26 1979, in Washington D.C., by Israel Prime Minister Menahem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. American President Jimmy Carter signed as a witness.

The Israel-Egypt peace pact was denounced by the other Arab states. More than a decade passed before another major advance to end the Israel-Arab conflict took place.

The Madrid Conference (October 1991)

International events in the beginning of the 1990's -- mainly the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Gulf War -- led the Arab world to change its attitude toward Israel and to enter into negotiations aimed at opening up a new era in the Middle East.

On October 30, 1991, a conference co-sponsered by the United States and the former Soviet Union was convened in Madrid, designed to serve as an opening forum for the future bilateral and multilateral negotiations of all sides involved in the Middle East conflict. The Madrid Conference, which lasted three days, was attended by delegations from Israel, the Arab states, and Palestinian representatives.

  • Since the Madrid Conference, the direct bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Arab states have resulted in the conclusion of a Peace Treaty with Jordan (see Israel Jordan Peace Treaty* ).
  • The negotiations with the Palestinians led, in September 1993, to mutual recognition [Oslo I] and, in September 1995, to the Israel Palestine Interim Agreement (see Israel-Palestinian Agreements*).
  • The negotiations with Syria and Lebanon became deadlocked.

Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty

Bilateral talks between Jordan and Israel continued after the Madrid Conference*.

  • On September 14, 1993, Israel and Jordan signed the Common Agenda, containing the principles for a peace treaty.
  • On July 25, 1994 King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin met for the first time publicly in Washington and signed the Washington Declaration, with US President Clinton witnessing the document.

The Washington Declaration, ending the state of belligerency between Israel and Jordan, was followed by a series of agreements and measures and successfully concluded with the signing of the Peace Treaty between the two countries. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Jordanian Prime Minister, Abdul-Salam Majali, signed the Peace Treaty, the second peace pact Israel had signed since the establishment of the state. The Peace Treaty deals not only with the termination of the state of war, but also with normalization of relations between Israel and Jordan.

Following the Peace Treaty, Israel and Jordan signed a series of agreements dealing with issues such as tourism, border crossings, energy, health, Police and the War against Drugs.

See also: Map

The Israeli Withdrawal from Lebanon - 24th May 2000

By Neil Lazarus

Israel's troubled relationship with Lebanon can be traced to 1948 and Israel's War of Independence, when nearly 120,000 Palestinian refugees fled to Lebanon, living in refugee camps in the South. The abundance of refugees and the forceful removal of the PLO leadership from Jordan to Lebanon during Black September, (1970) enabled Lebanon to become the springboard for Palestinian attacks against Israel; the 1970's saw a number of brutal terrorist attacks on Israel from what had become known as "Fatahland".

In 1982 Israel's armed forces entered Lebanon to bring peace to the Galilee by driving out the PLO which was forced to leave Lebanon for Tunisia. After the war Israel created a Security Zone in Southern Lebanon to protect itself from further attack.

The vacuum that the PLO's absence created was filled by an Iranian and Syrian- backed Shiite group called Hizbullah, and others such as Amal. Hizbullah continued to attack Israel and its Lebanese Christian militia and ally, the South Lebanese Army.

On May 24 2000, the last Israel troops left the self-proclaimed security zone; for lack of any agreed accord with Lebanon, the decision to leave was taken unilaterally by the Government of Israel, and to comply with UN Security Council Resolution #149. (This followed an election promise in May 1999 by future Prime Minister Barak, who was counting on concluding a peace agreement with the Syrians, also the major force in Lebanon. His hopes were dashed in early 2000, when the late Syrian President Hafez Assad rejected his offer of compromise on the Golan.)

Immediately, Hizbullah moved into all of the areas in southern Lebanon deserted by Israel, promising to remain a permanent feature of the political landscape, and there were numerous provocations along the newly-marked border. In August 2000, the Lebanese Army began deploying to to the South, but not to the perimeter, following the July entry of UNIFIL detachments to the border, as the main peacekeeping services.


See also: Current Issues Activity




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31 May 2005 / 22 Iyar 5765 0