Camp David’s ultimate legacy will depend on how its vision for a broader regional peace is translated to reality.
March 26 marks the 40th anniversary of the signing ceremony of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty that resulted from the Camp David Accords. Negotiated by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the treaty has been a cornerstone of regional security and U.S. strategy in the Middle East. The Camp David Accords’ first document paved the way for the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israelis and Palestinians, which in turn opened the door to the 1994 treaty between Israel and Jordan. USIP’s Robert Barron, Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen, and Michael Yaffe examine the legacy of Camp David and what, if any, lessons can be learned that could help advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process today.
Forty years later, how have the Camp David Accords impacted the Middle East and regional peace?
Camp David was a landmark moment in Middle East politics. In September 1978, Israel and Egypt had been in conflict for 30 years, with the threat of yet another disastrous war looming over the leadership and the publics. Forty years after the treaty, the relationship between Egypt and Israel—while certainly limited—is stable, mutually beneficial and peaceful. Camp David also set important precedents in how Middle East peace is negotiated and how Arab and Israeli interests should be accounted for in a peace process. Sadat and Begin were generally able to recognize their mutual and shared interest in ending hostilities. They were also able to build mechanisms to ensure the stability of the treaty—most importantly in security arrangements and oversight mechanisms.