Camp David - Case Study

Topics: Israel, Egypt, Yom Kippur War Pages: 16 (6056 words) Published: December 15, 2011
WWS Case Study 1/02

The Camp David Accords
A Case Study on International Negotiation


The Camp David Accords
A Case Study on International Negotiation

Jonathan Oakman WWS 547- Final Project January 8, 2002

1 On November 19, 1977, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat shocked the international community by traveling to Jerusalem to speak before the Knesset. This unprecedented olive branch, offered to a country upon which he had ordered a surprise attack just three years before, set the stage for a peace process that would culminate sixteen months later in the Egypt-Israeli Peace Treaty. The pivotal point in this process came in September 1977 when President Carter brought Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to the table and helped to hammer out the Camp David Accords. What factors caused these two players with seemingly incompatible interests to agree to a stable peace on behalf of their nations? There have been many attempts to answer this question from a variety of angles. The Camp David negotiations are rich with lessons for students of diplomacy, and they are worth revisiting as a case study. I will examine the events from two perspectives: the impact of two-level games and the characteristics of the leaders that made agreement possible. The first half of the study will trace the strategies of the players throughout the negotiations, and the second half will analyze how the outcomes were reached.

I. BACKGROUND At its heart, the Arab-Israeli conflict is a struggle between Zionist and Arab nationalism. Since the late 19th Century, these forces have fought over two major issues: control over Palestine and the existence of a Jewish state within the Muslim Arab world. The Jewish call for a homeland to protect them from persecution began in the 1880s, and continued with increased fervor after the Holocaust. In 1948, Israel came into being when the UN divided what had been the British protectorate of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. Fighting broke out immediately, and by 1949 there was no Arab Palestinian state at all. Israel controlled all of the old Palestinian territory except for the Egyptian Gaza Strip and the Jordanian West Bank (Eisenberg and Caplan 5-7). The Arab-Israeli clash continued to create armed conflict: first in the 1956 war between Israel and Egypt and then in the Six Day War of 1967. Winning a decisive victory in 1967, Israel wrested control of the Golan Heights from Syria, the West Bank from Jordan, and Gaza and the Sinai from Egypt (Eisenberg and Caplan 7-11). In the aftermath of the war, the tenor of the situation began to change when all of the Arab states accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242. This document called for Israel to pull out of the occupied territories, but it also guaranteed secure borders to all nations, thereby accepting Israel as a sovereign country for the first time. Further progress towards a long-term solution seemed possible in 1972 when Sadat hinted that he might accept a peace treaty with the Israelis if they would return the occupied territories. However, the U.S. government was focused on dealing with the Soviets at the time and opted not to facilitate talks. The opportunity for peace faded, and Egypt and Syria joined forces in a surprise war on Israel in 1973 (Telhami, Pew Study 1-2). In retrospect, it is generally agreed that this war was the first step by Egypt in the negotiating process. It raised awareness of the need for a lasting solution to the conflict

2 and galvanized the U.S. and the Soviet Union to take action. The two superpowers convened meetings in Geneva aimed at bringing all the key players in the Middle East to the table to discuss a settlement. This format favored the Arab states because they outnumbered Israel and had greater leverage; Israel preferred the possibility of bilateral negotiations. The 1975 Geneva Conference failed because the parties could not reach consensus on the issues of Palestinian...
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