The Camp David Accords was a negotiation between Israel and Egypt that occurred in September 1978 at the White House in Washington DC. While the Israeli and the Egyptians were represented by the Camp David Accords, the Palestinians living in the Palestine and Israel were not thought of when drafting the Camp David Accords. The Camp David Accords were comprised of two agreements that “The first dealt with the future of the Sinai and peace between Israel and Egypt, to be concluded within three months. The second was a framework agreement establishing a format for the conduct of negotiations for the establishment of an autonomy regime in the West Bank and Gaza.” There are four articles that are being used as evidence are “The United States and the Palestinians, 2977-2012: Three Key Moments” by Rashid Khalidi, “Sadat and Camp David Reappraised” by Zahid Mahmood, “From Camp David to Wye: Changing Assumptions in Arab-Israeli Negotiations” by Shibley Telhami, and “The Camp David Agreement and the Palestine Problem” by Faye Sayegh as a primary source, to further show how relations were between the Palestinians and Israelis after the Camp David Accords were signed.
The United States is a pro-Israel country in important matters that deal with Israel. The article “The United States and the Palestinians, 1977-2012: Three Key Moments” by Rashid Khalidi discusses how the language used in the Camp David Accords excluded the Palestinians. An example that Rashid Khalidi uses is “These provisions, however, had been emptied of any real meaning by the interpretation subsequently imposed on them [Palestinians] by Begin, who was adamant in denying the Palestinians any elements of self-determination, control over land and water, or an end to Israeli settlement expansion. He had gotten his way in the language of the ‘autonomy’ provisions of the accords and later of the 1979 peace treaty” and this shows that the Prime Minister of Israel, Menachim Begin, did not want to incorporate the Palestinians into Israel and this further strained the relation between Palestinians and Israelis. With Prime Minister Menachem Begin in power, the Palestinians did not have a voice to speak on their behalf at the negotiations at Camp David and this helped to caused tension between the two groups of people living in Israel, the Israelis and the Palestinians. To further his claim, Rashid Khalidi uses an example of “A recently declassified confidential CIA memorandum written around this time is particularly revealing about how Begin’s interpretation of these accords determined outcomes for years to come, indeed down to the present day…. In summary, it declared that ‘in Begin’s view the agreements ‘guarantee that under no condition’ can a Palestine state be created. In practice Begin effectively ruled out any exercise of Palestinian self-determination except one that continued Israel’s preeminent position in the West Bank. As the CIA memo predicted, Begin’s much watered-down interpretation of ‘autonomy’ proved definitive and was the one that prevailed” to further support his claim that Menachem Begin was trying to push his agenda and attitudes toward the Palestinian people. The memo that Rashid Khalidi references also states that “…the memo then went on to spell out all of the restrictions on the Palestinians- no control of land, water, movement, security, and so forth- that Begin-style ‘autonomy’ entailed” to show that Begin did not care if the Palestinians had a homeland or if they had any sort of government to show representation for the Palestinian people. The use of the memo furthers supports the claim made in the line “In Brokers of Deceit, I endeavor to show the reasons for this barren outcome of deceit through three clarifying moments in history of U.S. policy on the Palestine Question” and he uses the next lines to describe the three reasons he believes are important in American history regarding Palestine. Rashid Khalidi ends his article by talking about the interest of the United States and how “…long-standing U.S. policy has in no way served the long-term U.S. national interest-insofar as that interest would be served by a just and lasting resolution of this conflict. Nor has it served the interest of international peace and stability” which helps to incorporate his point of view of the United States involvement in the Camp David Accords and the effect on the tension between the Israeli government and Palestinians.
The United States became involved in the peace process between Egypt and Israel when they hosted the leaders of the two countries at Camp David. In “From Camp David to Wye: Changing Assumptions in Arab-Israeli Negotiations” by Shibley Telhami, the author begins by discussing how the Camp David Accords and the Wye River Agreement changed the way Israel made treaties with other Arab nations. The thesis being argued states “It is the aim of this article to reflect on two primary areas of change: perceptions of the role of the United States in the Arab-Israeli peace process, and perceptions by each party-Arab and Israeli-of the role of the other’s domestic politics in the negotiations” to allow the reader to understand what the author will be describing in his article. Telhami talks about how the President Bill Clinton and his administration was pro-Israel and how “Quickly, President Bill Clinton became one of the most admired men in Israel. No other president visited more often” and this allowed Bill Clinton to become involved and sponsor the Camp David Accords. With President Clinton being pro-Israel, he was more likely to side with Israel’s ideas for the Camp David Accords which allowed Menachem Begin to continue to deny Palestinians a homeland and access to Israel. Shibley Telhami believes “…the role of the United States was indispensable in the Egyptian-Israeli negotiations, not only because both sides believed that relations with the United States were central for foreign policies, but also because each believed that there was serious room for competition for the prized relationship” which allows the author to insert his personal opinion without stating explicitly what his opinion was on the topic. Telhami also states that “In fact, there was reason for such concern [about Ezer Weizman’s letter mentioned earlier in the article]: Carter and Sadat had secretly agreed on a joint strategy (that Carter was going to ignore later) that would manipulate Israel into accepting a settlement they considered acceptable” and this helps to counter his later opinion that the United States was a pivotal force in the signing of the Camp David Accords. Egypt and Israel both had other agendas going into the Camp David negotiations that focused on getting in the good graces of the United States and this is expressed in the line that states “He [Menachem Begin] told Carter, upon arriving at Camp David, that the most important agreement he sought was with the United States, and that an Egyptian-Israeli agreement was of ‘secondary’ importance, although crucial” and the line “Egypt’s approach to the United States was predicated on the assumption that American economic and strategic interest in the Middle East were closer to those of Egypt than to those of Israel” which allows the author to further expand the views of both Egypt and Israel and how they viewed the United States in their plans for peace. Shibley Telhami discusses how President Carter did express views that were thought to be Pro-Palestinian, but when it came time to sign the Camp David Accords his views were aligned with those of Pro-Israeli. With Egypt and Israel vying for the attention of their issues from the United States, there was not a thought of the Palestinian people.
Anwar Sadat was the President of Egypt at the time of the signing of the Camp David Accords, which kicked Egypt out of the Arab League, and he was scrutinized for his involvement in the Camp David Accords and his involvement with Israel. In the article “Sadat and Camp David Reappraised” by Zahid Mahmood, the author’s thesis states “This article will cover the discussions that took place between Cairo and Washington in early 1977 and the secret meetings between Sadat’s special envoy, Hasan Tuhamy, and Moshe Dayan in the summer of the year-meetings which convinced Sadat that he should go to Jerusalem” which allows the author to continue in his next sentence about the other topics being discussed in the paper as well as expand on the topics mentioned in the thesis. Mahmood talks about Sadat and how he planned trips to Jerusalem and one of his main “…foreign policy goal[s] upon assuming office in September 1970, they say, was to settle the conflict with Israel and regain Egypt’s leadership role in the Arab world” which would play a factor in meeting with Israel for the signing of the Camp David Accords. While Sadat wanted to meet with Israel, he wanted Egypt to become a “…preeminence in the Arab World (lost to the ascendant oil states) and to tap Western resources for his floundering economy, Sadat undertook to make what he called a ‘strategic partner’ of the United States in the region. In return for American economic and military aid…Sadat wanted to ‘compete with Israel over who could better serve American interests in the Middle East, Egypt or Israel’” which showed that Anwar al-Sadat had motives other than peace with Israel going into the Camp David Accords. As time drew near for the meeting at Camp David, al-Sadat decided that he wanted the United States as an ally and this pushed him to make peace with Israel and try and get in good standing with the United States. While Anwar al-Sadat face backlash regarding the Camp David Accords from the Arab League, al-Sadat tried to accomplish one of his foreign policy ideas and tried to make an ally out of the United States.
While there are scholarly sources regarding certain events in history, primary sources help to give context to the events that have shaped history and give a first-hand account of what occurred during a specific event. In the article “The Camp David Agreement and the Palestine Problem” by Fayez A. Sayegh, the author (“an Adviser to the Kuwait delegation to the United Nations” ) states the thesis as “American diplomats and spokesmen have also launched an intensive campaign aimed at convincing leaders of a skeptical world- particularly Arab leaders- that what was accomplished at Camp David was not merely the foundation of a separate, bilateral peace treaty between Egypt and Israel but a genuine framework for a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict in all its aspects- including its root cause, the Palestine problem” and this allows the audience to understand the viewpoint of the author and how his views relate to the rest of the article. Sayegh breaks down how the Camp David Accords effect Israel and Palestine and breaks down each topic mentioned in the Camp David Accords. Fayez Sayegh also mentions the U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 by referencing it in the lines “At Camp David, however, American and Israeli negotiators- aided and abetted by the docile acquiescence of the Egyptian negotiators- committed both sins against the ‘sanctity’ of resolution 242 at once: they injected new elements into one set of provisions, and they omitted any specific reference to the other, counterbalancing set of provisions” and this is important because resolution 242 tried to help keep the peace in Israel and the surrounding Arab states and this line also lets the author insert his bias on the topic without stating it. Sayegh continues to go into detail regarding the resolution and how the Egypt and Israel were both involved in changing the resolution when it came time to discuss the Camp David Accords. While first-hand accounts help provide insight into a topic or an event in history, there will be bias whether it is stated clearly or not.
The Camp David Accords allowed for Egypt and Israel to help try and make a peace treaty that would benefit the people and government of each country. While the thought behind the Camp David Accords was supposed to benefit the people of Israel and Egypt, the Palestinian people were not represented when the Accords were signed. Without having a self-governing body for the Palestinian people, the Camp David Accords did not consider the impact the negotiation would have on the Palestinians, at the time of the signing and for future generations. While the Camp David Accords lead to a process of more peace negotiations being considered and signed, the tensions between the Israelis and the Palestinians continue to be in place unless the Palestinians are represented at the peace negotiations.
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