On this day: the Camp David Accords

September 17 1978: A historic peace agreement is made


Three decades after Israel’s independence and 22 years after the Suez Crisis Egypt became the first Arab country to recognise its right to exist.

After 12 days of secret and intensive negotiations overseen by US president Jimmy Carter at the Maryland estate, an agreement was reached between Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat giving Egypt control of the Sinai Peninsula.

The events of September 1978 ultimately became the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, signed in March 1979. Mr Begin and Mr Sadat later shared the Nobel Peace Prize and by 1982 Israel had completely left the Sinai area.

Egyptian extremists registered their anger at the peace treaty by assassinating Mr Sadat in 1981. Mr Begin left office in 1983.

What the JC said: Camp David had to succeed in establishing a framework for peace...if in discussions held under such total secrecy, over so long a period, and under such auspices, they were unable to agree on a blueprint for a settlement, the likelihood of their ever coming to terms in any other forum or at any other time was less than remote. It was impossible. And there was only one, terrible alternative to agreement - another pointless and bloody war from which, yet again, neither side could emerge as victor.

See more from the JC archives here

Last updated: 9:41am, September 17 2010