Unlocking Negotiations: Locating the Key to Arab-Israeli Peace in the Camp David Summits of 1978 and 2000: A Comparative Historical Analysis
Tesoriero, Jessica L.
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There have been few instances of peace triumphing over war and conflict in the history of the modem world, and the beginning of one such instance came to pass in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland at a secluded resort called Camp David, where in September 1978 the unlikely couple of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat met with United States President Jimmy Carter to negotiate a peace. The result of that summit was a Framework of Principles for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict that had plagued the nations since Israel's Independence in 1948, and a Framework for the bilateral Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt that would come to fruition after countless more hours of negotiation in March 1979. The entire event would come to be regarded as an historic milestone in Arab-Israeli relations, as well as in the history of peace negotiation, a success for all parties involved and a win for the credibility of peaceniks for decades to come. Just over two decades later, U.S. President Bill Clinton would try to recreate this success and forge an agreement between Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak; yet this attempt has since been internationally recognized as a failure. The 2000 Camp David summit resulted in no Palestinian state, no agreement, not even a framework for principles for resolving the now half-century long Arab-Israeli conflict gripping the Middle East, and no new development in Palestinian-Israeli relations. The 2000 meeting at Camp David brought only the disappointment that had become the norm in Arab-Israeli relations. This paper's aim is to understand why these two summits, held in the same location with the same basic format with Israel, Arab, and American representation, resulted in such different conclusions. By determining what the key factors in the success of the 1978 summit and the failures of the 2000 summit, a comparison can be made that will reveal which factors were instrumental in successful Arab-Israeli summit negotiation, and what factors were ultimately detrimental to the peace process. The goal of this analysis is to provide an assessment of current-day prospects for peace in the Middle East, and recommendations for how to proceed in the future.