World, Middle East

Egypt releases historic paper on 1978 Camp David talks

Document is released to coincide with 40th anniversary of landmark Camp David peace treaty

Egypt releases historic paper on 1978 Camp David talks

By Hussein al-Qabbani


Egypt has released a historic document pertaining to the 1978 U.S.- brokered Camp David talks between then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

Released Wednesday to coincide with the Camp David peace treaty’s 40th anniversary, the document was originally published by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry in 1979.

According to the text, Egypt and Israel had agreed on "full autonomy" for Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and free elections for a self-governing Palestinian political authority.

"Egypt, Israel and Jordan agree on means for establishing an elected authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip,” the document reads.

The three states had also agreed on “the withdrawal of the Israeli armed forces [from both territories]… to ensure internal and external security and public order”.

The document goes on to call for “a five-year transitional period to begin following the establishment of a self-governing authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which are to be set up as soon as possible”.

“Following this interim period, negotiations should be held [between Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Palestinian representatives] to decide on the final status of the West Bank and Gaza and the two territories’ relations with their neighbors”, the document adds.

These efforts, it continues, should culminate in a final peace agreement between Israel and Jordan.

Negotiations, the document goes on, should “demarcate… borders and the nature of security arrangements”.

Notably, the paper adds: “The solution resulting from negotiations must recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and their needs -- in this manner, the Palestinians will be able to take part in deciding their future.”

The document further calls for “all necessary measures to ensure the security of Israel and its neighbors during the transitional period and beyond”.

It goes on to assert that Egypt and Israel “should work together with other interested parties to agree on procedures for a fair and comprehensive solution of the [Palestinian] refugee problem”.

In 1967, Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, advancing as far as the east bank of the Suez Canal.

Israel occupied Sinai for the next six years, until Egypt launched a war in 1973 to retake the peninsula.

Following the conflict, the two countries engaged in protracted peace talks that eventually led to the landmark 1978 Camp David Peace Accord.

In 1982, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai Peninsula, with the exception of the city of Taba on the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba.

Taba, too, however, was eventually returned to Egypt following a 1989 ruling by an international arbitration commission.

Jordan and Israel signed a separate peace agreement, the Wadi Araba Treaty, in 1994.

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