The Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979: A Balance of Peace and Power in the Middle East

The Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979: A Balance of Peace and Power in the Middle East

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The Arab-Israeli conflict, initiated over one-hundred years ago and still continuing, has confounded both policy-makers and citizens; despite the best efforts of foreign leaders, only one substantial accord has materialized in the decades of negotiations: the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of 1979. Before one undertakes to understand such a complex topic as the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, however, a broad knowledge of the historical background of the two countries involved is essential to understanding the motivations and aspirations of both parties, which in turn will shed light on the peace treaty itself. Foreign policy can’t be viewed in a vacuum; rather, each country must be viewed as a nation with legitimate historical and political aspirations . Also, when evaluating foreign policy, there are two methods of analysis: one is to concentrate on the output and documents produced by working backwards, deducing the intents of the various leaders from the end result; the other method is to focus on the politics of decisionmaking, viewing foreign policy as a result of individual political aims. The first approach focuses on the primary sources, while the other concentrates on the parties themselves. In this paper, I will give a comprehensive background of Israel-Egypt relations, and utilize the two forms of analyses to deduce what the goals of each party were at the time the treaty was signed, and use the lens of hindsight to evaluate whether their goals were met.

The dispute over the territory called Palestine began relatively recently. Palestinian Arabs had lived as impoverished peasants under corrupt, continuous Ottoman rule for centuries ; political identification as a Palestinian within the broad current of Arab nationalism only...

... middle of paper ...

...h before Israel’s establishment. Though at the time, Begin’s entry into the cabinet wasn’t a particularly notable development (as his promotion ostensibly was to ensure Israel’s unity in the face of a crisis), it was in fact a very significant development that allowed Begin to reenter mainstream politics and shed his radical label. Yoram Peri, Between Battles and Ballots: Israeli Military in Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), p. 250 goes so far as to call Begin’s appointment “a revolutionary change in Israeli political history”.
For a detailed chronology of the Six Day War, see “Six Day War Timeline (Israeli-Arab Six Day War Chronlogy)”. Zionism and Israel. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.

For the relatively short text of the resolution, see Laqueur and Rubin, pp. 365-366.
Tessler p. 420.

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