The peace treaty which Egypt and Israel signed in Washington on Monday (March 26th) was the outcome of nearly 18 months of intensive effort; and largely the work of three men: President Anwar Sadat of Egypt; Mr.
The peace treaty which Egypt and Israel signed in Washington on Monday (March 26th) was the outcome of nearly 18 months of intensive effort; and largely the work of three men: President Anwar Sadat of Egypt; Mr. Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel; and President Jimmy Carter of the United States.
SYNOPSIS: It began with President Sadat's dramatic visit to Jerusalem in November 1977. He had offered to go anywhere in the cause of peace, even to address the Israeli Knesset. Mr. Begin Promptly invited him to do so.
He and Mr. Begin both spoke warmly about their desire fore peace. But before long it became clear that neither had made any fundamental concessions.
Detailed negotiations followed -- between the two Defence Minister, Mohammed Gamassy and Ezer Weizman, in Cairo, and between the Israeli and Egyptian Foreign Ministers in Jerusalem. But they became deadlocked, mainly about the right of the Palestinians to a homeland Israeli security on the West Bank.
After nearly nine months of stalemate, President Jimmy Carter took the initiative. He asked the Egyptian and Israeli leaders to meet him at Camp David in Maryland last September. They emerged thirteen days later with two agreed documents: the outline of peace treaty and a more general "framework for peace in the Middle East"; and also with a commitment to sign a treaty within three months. The accords brought the Nobel Peace Prize for President Sadat and Mr. Begin, and a special commendation for President Carter. The Nobel Committee recognised that there was still some way to go; but hoped the prize would spur the leaders to further efforts.
The three months had passed, still without agreement, when President Carter took his last initiative. After talks with the Egyptian and Israeli Prime Ministers in the United States, he himself decided to visit both countries.
He went first to Cairo; had most talks with President Sadat; and was invited to address the Egyptian Parliament. Everywhere President Carter went in Egypt, he was received with great enthusiasm: by huge crowds in the streets as well as by the politicians in Parliament.
After two days in Cairo, President Carter went on to Jerusalem - where his first engagement was a private dinner at the home of Prime Minister and Mrs. Begin. His reception in Israel was less obviously demonstrative. It soon became clear that there were still difficulties. For a moment, it looked as though President Carter's mission would fail. But he and his advisers produced yet more proposals for a formula that might bridge the remaining gaps. And Mr. Begin agreed to put them to his Cabinet.
Back to Cairo, for President Sadat's approval of the latest proposals, and President Carter was able to leave for home.