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History, Peace with Egypt

Israeli settlement, Camp David Accords, year Israel, Golan Heights, president Jimmy Carter

In 1977 Sadat announced his willingness to meet with Israel publicly and openly to discuss peace. In November he arrived in Israel to address the Knesset, calling on Begin to negotiate peace. After nearly a year of stalled negotiations, U.S. president Jimmy Carter brought the parties together at Camp David, Maryland, in September 1978 to break the stalemate. Carter, Begin, and Sadat concluded the Camp David Accords, agreements that provided the outline and basis for a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel and for a comprehensive Middle East peace focusing on the Palestinian issues and the future of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In March 1979 Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty calling for Israelís gradual withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Egypt and Israel opened their borders, established direct communication links, opened embassies, and exchanged ambassadors in 1980

. Israel completed its Sinai withdrawal in 1982. The treaty eliminated the threat of Israelís primary Arab adversary with the largest military capacity. It also led to increased U.S. economic and military assistance to both Israel and Egypt. However, it failed to bring about a comprehensive Middle Eastern peace. On the contrary, the Arab League condemned Egypt and suspended its membership.

Despite peace with Egypt, hostilities continued between Israel and other Arab nations. In June 1981 Begin sent Israelís air force to destroy an Iraqi nuclear reactor near Baghdad, claiming it was being used for development of nuclear weapons. Later that year Israel effectively annexed the Golan Heights by extending Israeli civil law to the region; Syria refused to recognize Israelís authority. Begin continued to push for Israeli settlement in all of the Occupied Territories, heightening tensions in those regions.

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