The background of Oslo Process. The consequences after Camp David Accords

1. Introduction

campdavidThe Israeli-Egyptian peace process began after the Yom Kippur War.[1] The war ended, when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, under pressure from the Soviet Union, agreed to a ceasefire announcement with Israel. Then, 11th of November 1973, Israeli and Egyptian military commanders signed an agreement on the 101 Kilometre on the Cairo-Suez road. This agreement provided for the movement of supplies to Suez and the Third Army, replacement of Israeli by United Nations checkpoints, the exchange of prisoners and discussions for the separation of forces.[2] The consequence of the agreement was the peace conference in Geneva, which began in December 1973. The representatives of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, the Soviet Union, the United States and the United Nations were attended in this conference. Egypt, were eager to reach agreement, because were planning to recovery the Sinai Peninsula. It was the first time Egypt decided to cut off from Arab nationalism. It was a landmark event, which opened the way to begin the process of peaceful relations between Israel and Egypt.{jcomments on}

The economic crisis in Egypt caused that American diplomacy began to “push” Egypt to U.S. side. And on the 5th of September 1978, in the residence of U.S. presidents at Camp David, Egypt and Israel began secret peace negotiations.

2. The provisions of the Camp David accords

The negotiations lasted from 5th to 17th of September 1978.[3] The result of the meeting in Camp David was the signing two agreements: „A Framework For Peace In The Middle East” and “Framework For The Conclusion Of A Peace Treaty Between Egypt And Israel”, which based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.[4] The first agreement consisted of three parts. The first part of agreement formed the basis of futures negotiations about establishment of Palestinian self-government in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The second part formed the basis of the conclusion of a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. The third part created the rules, which should be applied in dealing with Israel's Arab neighbors. The agreement: “Framework For The Conclusion Of A Peace treaty Between Egypt And Israel” formed the basis of a peace treaty which was signed six months later.[5]

The both agreements were related to the cash guarantees offered by the United States. Egypt from 1979 to 1997 has received a $2 billion in economic and military foreign assistance annually.[6] Further, the United States supported the modernization of the Egyptian armed forces, which have become among the largest in region. Israel received $3 billion grants annually and military aid packages.[7]

3. Impact of the Camp David accords on the relations in the Middle East

The signing of the Camp David Accords was not the end of the negotiations. On 26th of March 1979 in Washington, was signed by Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President Anwar Sadat “Treaty of Peace between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Israel”.[8] The normalization of relations between Egypt and Israel went into effect in January 1980, and ambassadors of both country were exchanged in February 1980. Over the next year on the Israeli-Egyptian border remained "cold peace".[9] But most Arab countries strongly rejected the possibility of peace process with Israel, and they froze its diplomatic relations with Egypt.

In 1980 the Knesset adopted a law, which meant that "complete and united Jerusalem" is the capital of Israel and the official place for all central government agencies. This step was easier for Israel, after having the U.S. guarantees and support. But the international community had not recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.[10] After this incident, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution nr 478, in which condemned Israel for the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the state. It is worthy to say that, the United States abstained from voting to show gesture of solidarity with Israel.[11]

In December 1981, the Knesset adopted the Golan Heights Law, extending Israeli jurisdiction on the territory of the Golan Heights. It meant, that the Golan Heights were formally annexed to Israel and this situation, as we can imagine, caused many protests around the world.[12]

The next Israel's risky step was decision to start war in Lebanon. The war began on 6th of June 1982, from the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon. The Government of Israel as an excuse for aggression, introduced this step as retaliation for the assassination of Israeli Ambassador Shlomo Argova in London on 4th of June.[13] The results of war was, the Israelis defeated the forces of the PLO, the Syrian army and Muslim Lebanese and after then, Israel surrounded Beirut. Further clashes led to the escalation of civil war in Lebanon, in which were involved international peacekeeping forces, Druze, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. The war ended as a result of the signing the agreement, under which Israeli troops withdrew from Lebanon.[14]

After war, the PLO[15] forces had to leave Lebanon. From that moment, Yasser Arafat's[16] headquarters was moved to Libya. In December 1987, the Intifada - the first Palestinian uprising started. The Palestinians traditionally have been granted by Arab states, recognizing creation independent state of Palestine as part of the Israeli-Arab wars. On 15th of November 1988, Palestinian National Council adopted the Algiers Declaration of Independence of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Declaration of independence did not create a Palestinian state, but it focused on the political structure in statu nascendi. Palestinian state, as an independent political state, has not been formally recognized by Israel and the United Nations.[17]

Another important step for the Intifada was Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. This occurrence created a real threat to Saudi Arabia, and led to the creation of large international coalition, that gathered its troops in the Persian Gulf. On 17th of January 1991, allied forces began operation "Desert Storm" lasted to 28th of February. In this time they destroyed most of the Iraqi army. And it is worthy to say, that Yasser Arafat advocated for losing – Iraq side before. This situation forced the Palestinians to start peace negotiations with Israel.

The peace process started accelerate after coming to power the Labour Party in June 1992 and taken office the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. In January 1993, took place secret negotiations with representatives of the PLO in Oslo. The result was the signing in Washington “Joint Declaration of Principles on Palestinian self-government in the occupied territories.”[18] A key assumption of the declaration was the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in those areas.

4. Conclusions

What has changed after the Camp David Accords in situation in the Middle East? In my opinion, this agreement has drastically changed the balance of power in the Arab-Israeli conflict. It strengthened the U.S. position , which was associated with weakened position of the Soviet Union in the Middle East. Cash guarantees and closer relations with the United States also strengthened the position of Israel in the Middle East. But in case relations between Israel and Egypt one impact of the Camp David process is clear and positive: in a region fraught with turmoil, they both have been at peace ever since[19]

The Camp David Accords result was suspended the Egypt from Arab League for many years.[20] Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty did not bring any settlement in the Palestinian issue: provided in the negotiations on autonomy for the West Bank and Gaza Strip quickly ended in failure, while Israel continued building settlements in these territories. Israel, which was supported by the U.S., felt unpunished and untouchable. Immediately after signing the agreement, Israel started to fight with the PLO. The consequence of this situation was the revolution in Lebanon, which, on the one hand removed the Palestinian fighters from the border of Israel, but on the other hand created radical group –Hezbollah.

We can see, U.S. guarantees gave Israel sense of strength and contributed to making these moves I wrote before. Finally, Israeli fighting led to impasse situation in Israeli – Palestinian conflict, which result was the starting new negotiations - Oslo Process.

Bibliography:

Books:

T. G. Fraser, The Arab – Israeli Conflict, Studies in Contemporary History, 1995;

W. B. Quandt, Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1967, The Brookings Institution, 2001;

Articles:

J. M. Sharp, Egypt in Transition, Congressional Research Service, 2011;

J. M. Sharp, U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel, 2010;

C. R. Mark, Egypt-United States Relations, Issue Brief for Congress, 2005;

J. Oakman, The camp David Accords A Case Study on International Negotiation,2002;

P. Tristam, What Were the Camp David Accords of 1978?, (http://middleeast.about.com)

Y. Keramati, Twenty Years in the Making: The Palestinian Intifada of 1987, 2007;

Websites:

www.un.org – official United Nations website;

http://middleeast.about.com/od/documents/a/camp-david-accords-text.htm - The Camp David Accords text;

http://www.norwichpsc.org.uk;

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org: The Golan Heights Law and The Lebanon War by Mitchell Bard;

www.palestinefacts.org.



[1] War between Israel and coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria in 1973 (6 - 25 October).

[2] T. G. Fraser, The Arab – Israeli Conflict, Studies in Contemporary History, 1995, p.105;

[3] W. B. Quandt, Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1967, The Brookings Institution; p. 1;

[4] www.un.org - the official United Nations website;

[6] J. M. Sharp, Egypt in Transition, Congressional Research Service, 2011, p. 3;

[7] J. M. Sharp, U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel, Congressional Research Service, 2010, text in Summary;

[8] T. G. Fraser, The Arab – Israeli Conflict, Studies in Contemporary History, 1995, p. 125;

[9] C. R. Mark, Egypt-United States Relations, Issue Brief for Congress, 2005, p. 4;

[11] www.un.org

[12] http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org - The Golan Heights Law;

[13] http://www.palestinefacts.org - Attempted Assassination of the Israeli Ambassador in London, 1982;

[14] http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org - The Lebanon War by Mitchell Bard;

[15] PLO – Palestine Liberation Organization;

[16] Palestinian leader in years: 1969 – 2004;

[17] Y. Keramati, Twenty Years in the Making: The Palestinian Intifada of 1987, 2007, p. 107-120;

[18] known as the Oslo Agreement;

[19] J. Oakman, The camp David Accords A Case Study on International Negotiation, 2002, p.11;

[20] http://middleeast.about.com - P. Tristam, What Were the Camp David Accords of 1978?; (1979 – 1989 Egypt was not a member of AL)

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