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Camp David Negotiations



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    The international political strategy of bring together the primary leaders of Israel and Egypt for peace talks may have been a design to stop the growing tensions across the middle eastern region of the 2010. However, the outcome of the 1978 Camp David accords were the end result of a 13 day series of American mediated talks between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and have been heralded by many to say it has been the longest lasting and most effectively negotiated agreement between any Arab nation and Israel.

    One of the biggest political issues of the last several decades has been keeping peace in the Middle East especially with on going tension of this year. This has been a challenge even for many of our pass and present U. S. President, as well as, the middle eastern leaders across the region. As evidence, Just listen to the daily news topics as we are bombarded with issues and concerns associated with the Middle East. Israel is still a hot top topic even today. Even though the international community had made peace in the Middle East a goal, the round of talks always found a way to stall.

    The Camp David talk’s unforeseen outcome changed the international community to this day. The negotiations issues of that specific event are outlined in this descriptive and informative paper. Other organization and political critics both in and out of the international negotiation arena might even question the most fundamental premise upon which the current optimal bargaining behavior is based, concerning effective interpersonal strategy and tactics used. On the other hand others might celebrate, as indeed most do, the more tangible successes of the accords.

    Israel agreed to trade the Sinai Peninsula for peaceful relations with Cairo, and both Egypt and Israel finished with larger US financial aid packets than any other international body currently receives. The possibility, however, of a divergent opinion is intriguing. This negotiation analysis will show the divergent goal achieved but yet an ambiguous term of success. The goals and the planning and preparation that took place: Perhaps the end goal was to redeem a financial packet to help Egypt from a recovery effort finding themselves in a desperate need of financial aid after the war of 1967 and the October War of 1973.

    Mohammed Kamel, Foreign Minister under Egyptian President Sadat during the making of the accords, writes in his memoirs from the Camp David Accords; “that Egypt was in desperate need of financial aid after the war,” Britannica Encyclopedia (2010). Peace of course is partial mix in the strategy for achieving their goal during the talks but a more desire for building in some way to restore a level of integrity and honor, lost during the their previous war.

    The Camp David Negotiations of 1968 were an effort made by United States President Jimmy Carter to establish peace and security within the Middle East beginning with Egypt and Israel. President’s Carter’s mediation techniques and his skill at breaking through communication blockades, including his preparation in shadow moves, documentation, power and appreciative moves, helped enable the parties to reach a settlement. However the agreement would not have been reached if Israel and Egypt didn’t both have common goals. Common goals: Both countries would seek to establish security and improve their countries economic conditions.

    The goal of establishing a peace agreement that would halt hostile military action between Israel and Egypt was a monumental task as both oppositions were hardened from decades of military attacks and previously failed negotiation attempts. To achieve a favorable negotiation result between Israel and Egypt, flawless planning and preparation would be required and implemented with precision. And a move forward in the attempt to stifle the possibility of growing exacerbation of tension between both countries. Israeli objectives/goals:

    According to Darrant and Hakim’s article, Winners and Losers in the Middle East, “the grand thinking of the architects of the peace process centered upon the idea that economic benefits would become the driving force of a new Middle East. Both countries saw the negotiations as a chance to boost their economic environment by decreasing defense expenditures and release those resources for productive uses; by increasing direct investment and reduce the region’s cost of capital; by boosting the development of intra-regional trade specialization and trade based upon comparative advantages;” Eagle, Clarissa. 2003), and by furthering “cooperation in joint economic projects,” Eagle (2003). And yet, similar to its Arab neighbor, Israel had not only financial but also territorial aspirations for the upcoming negotiations. Moshe Dayan, Foreign Minister under Begin’s leadership, proposed that Israeli goals include a “buffer zone” in Sinai, certain boundary changes with Egypt, and freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Eilat. The “military possibilities” of a buffer zone were demilitarization, reduction of forces, or control by UN troops.

    The boundary changes should leave to Israel control of both Eitan and Etzion airfields near the Negev-Sinai frontier, with an appropriate area around them, as well as of the Jewish settlements within the approaches to Rafah. In other words, Dayan’s public proposition officially supported then by Begin was that an Israeli controlled territorial strip from the Mediterranean to Eilat, west of the international boundary, be secured through the course of negotiations with Egypt.

    A Collaborative Strategy for reaching and establishing a relationship: First sign of reaching out to establish some sort of relationship between the two countries and the setting for some future talks. Anwar Sadat’s made the first move out of frustration with the lack of progress of the peace process which was heating over for some time so in November of 1977 he address Israel becoming the first Arab leader to visit Israel, implicitly recognizing Israel’s legitimate right to exist.

    The gesture stemmed from an eagerness to enlist the help of the United States in improving the ailing Egyptian economy, a belief that Egypt should begin to focus more on its own interests than on the interests of the collective Arab world, and a hope that a bilateral agreement with Israel would catalyze similar agreements between Israel and her other Arab neighbors. Begin’s response to Sadat’s initiative, though not what Sadat or Carter had hoped, demonstrated a willingness to engage the Egyptian leader.

    Like Sadat, Begin also saw many reasons why bilateral talks would be in his country’s best interests. It would afford Israel the opportunity to negotiate only with Egypt instead of with a larger Arab delegation that might try to use its size to make unreasonable demands. In addition, the commencement of direct negotiations between leaders summit diplomacy would isolate Egypt from her Arab neighbors, a long-standing goal of Israel.

    An objective description of the actual events that occurred: During the negotiations both countries accompanied by their capable negotiating teams and with their respective interests and needs in mind, prepared to gain for their country a wining smile of victory; both leaders converged on Camp David for thirteen days of tense and dramatic negotiations; which started on September 5 through the 17 of September, 1978.

    Serving as the mediator was our President and his team. By all accounts, President Carter’s relentless drive and motivation to achieve peace and his reluctance to allow the two men to leave without reaching an agreement are what played the decisive role in the success of the talks. Numerous times both the Egyptian and Israeli leaders wanted to scrap negotiations, only to be lured back into the process by personal appeals from Carter.

    Begin and Sadat had such mutual antipathy toward one another that they only seldom had direct contact; thus Carter had to conduct separate diplomacy in separate cabins by shuttling back and forth holding one-on-one meetings with either Sadat or Begin, then returning to the cabin of the third party to relay the substance of his discussions. The tension and behavioral conduct was a strategy of psychological negotiation warfare. Who can break the other and lose face in the eyes of the international community.

    On the tenth day tension was high over a particularly difficult situation which arose during the talks. The main issues were about the Israeli settlement withdrawal from the Sinai and the status of the West Bank created what seemed to be an impasse. Negotiation shifted to a non-speaking terms between both Mr. Begin and Sadat. The on going disagreements and closed in spaces at Camp David was too small for both parties to be in the same place which were exacerbating and elevating the levels of tension between the two of them.

    In response, President Carter had the choice of trying to salvage the agreement and save face as the mediator; he could either concede the issue of the West Bank to Begin, while advocating Sadat’s less controversial position on the removal of all settlements from the Sinai Peninsula. Or he could have refused to continue the talks, reported the reasons for their failure, and allowed Begin to bear the brunt of the blame.

    Carter chose to continue and for three more days negotiated, with out giving up, assured, and petitioned until at last an agreement was possible. The result was the 1978 Camp David Accords. Integration of readings, theory, and concepts as appropriate: A peace negotiation like the 1978 Camp David Accord could be product of resolving differences by way of collaborative negotiation were both side may have succumb to inertia to some point and some advantage may have resolve from discord.

    Many political scholars have described the Camp David accords as a prime example of successful, or optimal, bargaining that in turn led to the only long lasting Arab-Israeli peace initiative. A psychological barrier or approach is a strategy that may be used during any peace negotiation and is impacted and attained through the maintenance of these international hierarchies, which facilitate the effectiveness of interstate threats and coercion. The aggressive acquisition of power, economic, or military is a key factor and necessarily obtained at the detriment of the other.

    Aggression, as defined by the American Dictionary as “the disposition of the part of an individual or a collectivity to orient its action to goals which include a conscious or unconscious intention illegitimately to injure the interests of other individuals or collectivities in the same system,” Eagle, (2003). In this situation the strategic strategy is the tactical manipulation of aggression, as well as an attentive mistrust of the other for the other is sure to comport himself likewise.

    An example as they demonstrated their behavior of mistrust at during the negotiation process at Camp David when tension level were high and they could not come to terms and face each other in the same negotiation room. Although a common aim was an initial focus it took time before signs of an agreement was reached. And it was up to President Carter to bridge the gap of trust and bring some commonality into the equation to help reach an agreement. Briefly, what led to the meeting?

    Egypt and Israel had technically been at war since Israel’s founding in 1948 and the latter had occupied the Sinai Peninsula an Egyptian territory during the Six-Day War of 1967. War had again started in 1973. “The Accords had their origin in Sadat’s unprecedented visit to Jerusalem the first visit ever by the chief of state of an Arab nation to Israel on 19-21 November 1977 to address the Israeli government and Knesset (parliament) on the subject of peace,” Eagle, (2003).

    Sadat’s visit initiated peace negotiations between Israel and Egypt later that year. The discussion continued sporadically into the following year, but when a deadlock ensued, Sadat and Begin accepted President Carter’s invitation to a meeting at Camp David on 5 September 1978. Carter’s had worked tirelessly since his inauguration to find a way to bring about a permanent peace in the Middle East and he now seized the initiative. Who were the players involved and what took place (purpose)?

    The main key players were the Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on September 17, 1978, and President Carter influenced the key leaders to meet to negotiate, which followed a twelve days of secret negotiations at Camp David. What were the circumstances surrounding the meeting/negotiations? The first agreement dealt with the future of the Sinai peninsula and peace between Israel and Egypt. This was concluded six months later with the signing of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty.

    The second was a framework agreement establishing a format for the conduct of negotiations for the establishment of an autonomous regime in the West Bank and the Gaza strip . According to the Israeli-Egyptian portion of the agreement, Israel had to withdraw both its troops and settlers from the Sinai and restore it to Egyptian control in return for normal diplomatic relations with Egypt, guarantees of freedom of passage through the Suez Canal and other nearby waterways such as the Straits of Tiran, and a restriction on the number of troops Egypt could place on the Sinai peninsula.

    The framework agreement regarding the future of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank areas Judea and Samaria was less clear, and was later interpreted differently by Israel, Egypt, and the US. What were the specific positions/wants/needs/strategies of each side? Heading into the peace talks at Camp David, there were several basic issues on the negotiation table.

    They were the following; first a peace treaty and normalization of relations between Israel and Egypt, and second demilitarization and removal of Israeli settlements from the Sinai, third linkage between these issues and the future if the West Bank and Gaza, and fourth a statement on principals, including Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territories and the right of Palestinians to self-determination. Each player in the peace process had their own interests and strategies going into the negotiations. Egypt had one dominant strategy; the Egyptian economy had been stagnant in the 1970’s partly due to large defense expenditures.

    However Sadat could not decrease Egypt’s defense budget until Israel was no longer a threat. Therefore Egypt was in desperate financial need and needed to actively negotiate during the summit in order for Israel to withdraw from the Sinai and sign a peace treaty and possibly gain financial aid primary by way of America. Egypt aimed to impress both the Americans and the other Arab countries at Camp David. Sadat thought if he demonstrated flexibility, President Carter and thus the Americans would be impressed.

    On the other hand, impressing the other Arab nations would be a much more daunting task since Sadat already lost some respect from his Arab allies due to recognizing Israel. Therefore in order to regain support, Sadat had to guarantee Israel’s withdrawal from all occupied territories and establish the right of self-government for Palestinians (Oakman 5). Israel’s concerns going into the negotiations were similar to Egypt’s, the economy and security. The Israeli economy was also on a downturn due to high defense spending, thus causing extensive inflation. The main concern internationally was security.

    The Arab nations had made it clear they were not intimidated by Israel’s military. In order to solve both dilemmas, Israel focused on a bilateral peace treaty with Egypt. Begin thought a treaty with the largest Arab state would allow Israel to decrease defense spending while continuing to feel secure. Thus Israel’s main focus was a peace treaty with Egypt and the demilitarization of the Sinai (Oakman 5). Even though President Carter was technically only the mediator, the United States clearly had several interests in the Camp David Accord. President Carter faced many challenges from various fronts.

    Of course the Jewish community would only be happy with an agreement that met all Israel’s objectives. Corporate America wanted to evade conflict for purely economic reasons. The energy sector was concerned with the vital relationships with the oil exporting Arab countries. Lastly, President Carter’s main interest was saving his presidential legacy. With the next political campaign around the corner, President Carter needed to produce results. Simply put, “his goal was to achieve any agreement, not necessarily an agreement that protected each side’s interests” Wales, Zachary. 2007). Where there other international players involved, effected and, if so, how? Although other international players were not in attendance at the Camp David Accords, there were two main countries that had a stake in the negotiations. The first country was the Soviet Union, which “aided the Arab countries during the Yom Kippur War in 1973” Wales, Zachary (2007), was definitely curious about the outcome of the negotiations. If President Carter could not bring Israel and Egypt to sign a peace treaty, perhaps the Soviet Union would step in and try to steal the spotlight.

    In addition, with the Soviet Union being allies to the Arab nations and enemies with the United States, a peace treaty signed in America with the help of President Carter could possibly put a barrier in the way of future relations with Arab countries. Whereas the Soviet Union was an international powerhouse which had a stake in the negotiations, the Palestinians also were potentially affected. One of the main issues on the table was the right of self-government for the Palestinians. If the negotiation process went well, and Israel and Egypt could come to an agreement, the Palestinians could soon be an independent nation.

    What was the mediation strategy of Carter during the 13-days of negotiation? President Carter had a unique role as a mediator during the negotiation process at Camp David. As President he took It on his part to assume the position of the lead negotiator and not assign one of his team members from the senior staff. During the first three days of negotiations, the role of the United States was direct mediation. However, as all three men worked together in a small room in President Carter’s cabin, a shouting match quickly evolved between Sadat and Begin.

    It was then clear that the two parties “could not interact constructively on a personal level” (Oakman 5). Since Sadat and Begin could hardly stand to be in each other’s presence, the two parties mainly stayed in each perspective cabin and the strategy switched to indirect mediation. Therefore President Carter and his aides shuffled back and forth between the two parties speaking with each group separately. Oakman states on page 6, for the first time the Americans truly took on the role of mediators; their job was to bring the two sides together and up to this point they have only being able to talk with each side individually. The mediation strategy continued to change for the Americans during the negotiation process. During days five through seven, President Carter and his aides developed a process of drafting documents, having both sides review and make revisions before drafting iteration. This tedious process proved well for a few issues, Sinai and the future of the West Bank and Gaza, but Begin began to get inflexible and stubborn.

    During days eight through ten, the process of drafting and revising documents reached a stalemate on the Sinai and the settlements in the West Bank. The parties were mainly modifying the wording and language instead of working towards resolving other issues. At this point everyone involved was discouraged and the talks seemed to be headed towards failure”, as stated by Wales, (2007). On the eleventh day of negotiations, Sadat and his team of advisors packed their bags to leave out of frustration. Even though Carter was not optimistic about finishing an agreement, he realized his legacy as president solely relied on producing that document. Therefore Carter altered his strategy to become more proactive in making suggestions on complex issues.

    For example, one of President Carter’s suggestions dealt with the Sinai. Begin would not agree to leave the Israeli settlements and air bases; however President Carter persuaded him to agree by “offering both to guarantee Israel continued access to oil supplies and to build two new air bases in the Negev Desert” Wales, (2007). President Carter did not want to “buy peace,” Wales (2007), by utilizing America’s vast resources, however he saw no other way to get both sides to come to an agreement. By day twelve, the future of the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza was he only issue left to resolve. Furthermore after a long negotiation session, it was evident that a resolution on this particular issue was not possible. President Carter did not want this obstacle to stop talks among the parties when an agreement was near; so once again he had to modify his mediation strategy. Therefore the language was kept vague in order to appease everyone and to continue the negotiation process. Now that the last issue was addressed and President Carter and his staff successfully mediated the negotiations, the three parties agreed to the deal on the thirteenth day.

    Later the parties returned to the White House for the official signing ceremony. What were the results (outcomes)? The outcomes/end result was the 1978 Camp David Accord which outlines the following details which favored one side more than the other giving Israel’s closer edge for an ideal position than Egypt’s finally got. Israel’s prim-mister Begin accomplished his major goals of signing a peace treaty and the demilitarization of Sinai without having to back-down on the Palestinian issue.

    On the other hand, Sadat achieved Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai but only a few additional small special considerations. The vital issue for Sadat was the self-determination of the Palestinians, which went unresolved due to a key strategic move early on in negotiations by President Carter. President Carter was aware of the controversy issue of the Palestinians rights would be an issue during the negotiations. Therefore he decided to separate the Sinai issue from the more difficult Palestinian issue and as an alternative create two documents.

    The first document was a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt and the second would spell out the guidelines for future negotiations regarding the Palestinians right to self-govern and the an agreement to meet a second time in the future. This document was based on the premise that Israel would grant independence to the Palestinians in exchange for peace with its Arab neighbors. The peace treaty focused on the Israeli’s returning the Sinai territory in exchange for diplomatic recognition, access to the Suez Canal, and restrictions on the Egyptian military presence on its border.


    Camp David Accords. 2010). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved September 20, 2010, from Encyclopedia Britannica Online: http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/91061/Camp-David-Accords Eagle, C. Clarissa. (2003), The optimal behavior in International negotiation: an interdisciplinary study of Camp David; peace study journal Retrieved September 18, 2010 from http://www. peacestudiesjournal. org. uk/dl/CampDavid. pdf Wales, Zachary. (2007), Carter and camp David, where it all began, the electronic intifada editorial, Retrieved September 19, 2010 from: http://electronicintifada. net/v2/article6421. shtml

    Camp David Negotiations. (2017, Feb 14). Retrieved from

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