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Camp David Accords’ flawed path to peace

Camp David Accords’ flawed path to peace
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Updated 15 May 2020

Camp David Accords’ flawed path to peace

Camp David Accords’ flawed path to peace

The accords between Egypt and Israel may have led to a Nobel prize, but the failure to fully realize them fueled extremism

Summary

On Sept. 17, 1978, after 10 days of intense negotiations at the Camp David US presidential retreat, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed two historic documents that ended three decades of conflict between their countries and appeared to offer the first real chance of peace in the Middle East.

As Arab News reported at the time, the talks went to the wire, with “suspense and uncertainty about the outcome” until the last moment. Thanks to the efforts of US President Jimmy Carter, however, Begin and Sadat finally agreed on the Camp David Accords — frameworks for peace in the Middle East and a treaty between Egypt and Israel.

A month later, Sadat and Begin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and in March the following year they signed the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. Many in the Arab world, however, saw it as a betrayal of the Palestinians. Egypt was suspended from the Arab League, and in 1981 Sadat was assassinated by extremists opposed to the treaty. While a fragile peace between the two countries remains, hopes that the accords would resolve the Palestinian problem have yet to be fulfilled.

CHICAGO: When Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat went to Jerusalem hoping to prevent future wars and resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict through negotiations, he did so believing a comprehensive peace would not only include Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, but most importantly Israel agreeing to withdraw from the occupied territories and allow for a Palestinian state.

During his lengthy speech to Israel’s Knesset (Parliament), Sadat said: “I have not come here for a separate agreement between Egypt and Israel … Even if peace between all the confrontation states and Israel were achieved, in the absence of a just solution to the Palestinian problem, never will there be that durable and just peace upon which the entire world insists today.”

Key Dates

  • 1

    US President Jimmy Carter writes to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to express his commitment to finding “a lasting peace settlement in the Middle East.”

  • 2

    In a handwritten letter, Carter appeals to Sadat for help: “The time has now come to move forward, and your early public endorsement of our approach is extremely important – perhaps vital.”

  • 3

    After Sadat announces his intention to visit Israel, Israel’s new prime minister Menachem Begin addresses the Egyptian people from Jerusalem, pleading for “no more wars, no more bloodshed.”

    Timeline Image Nov. 11, 1977

  • 4

    Carter writes private letters to Sadat and Begin, proposing they meet.

  • 5

    Sadat and Begin arrive at Camp David for 10 days of talks.

  • 6

    At 9:37 p.m. Carter, Begin and Sadat board presidential helicopter Marine 1 and fly from Maryland to the White House. At 10:31p.m., Begin and Sadat sign the framework for peace.

    Timeline Image Sept. 17, 1978

  • 7

    Sadat and Begin are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • 8

    Sadat and Begin sign the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in Washington.

  • 9

    Anwar Sadat is assassinated in Cairo by Islamic extremists opposed to the peace treaty

Sadat never lived to see how right he was about how Israel’s refusal to withdraw from the occupied territories would fuel a surge in extremism, create more violence, disrupt his own nation and make regional peace impossible. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s sole purpose was to remove the military threat posed by Egypt, divide the Arab “confrontation states” and block demands for Palestinian statehood.

Sadat was naive to trust Begin, one of the Middle East’s most vicious terrorists. Begin orchestrated some of the most heinous civilian atrocities during the 1947-1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, including the massacre of nearly 100 civilians in the small Palestinian village of Deir Yassin.

That massacre, with pregnant women butchered and bodies thrown into the village water well, shocked the Arab population of Palestine, prompting a refugee flight of fear. Before his Knesset speech, Sadat visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, which ironically is built on Deir Yassin’s remains.

He was being wooed by Israel and the US, and treated like a distinguished head of state, for making peace with Israel. He toured the US in 1978 and was feted at dinners in several major American cities, including Chicago, where I joined 500 other Arab Americans protesting his “surrender.”

“Mr. Carter’s experiment with solely moral coercion as an instrument of peace, while commendable, failed to produce any results because it failed to take into consideration all the variables in the complex Middle East ‘equation’.”

Arab News editorial, Sept. 18, 1978

The Camp David Accords won Sadat and Begin the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize but scorn in the Arab world. The Arab League reacted by removing Egypt as a member and moving its headquarters from Cairo to Tunis.

Israel’s strategy was clear to everyone but Sadat. He signed the accords after 12 days of intense negotiations in 1978 (Sept. 5-17). But just weeks before, Begin inaugurated the settlement of Ariel, which has become a symbol of Israel’s continuing war against Palestinian statehood and the center of settlement expansion.

Despite the disconcerting reality on the ground, Sadat went ahead and signed a formal peace treaty with Israel at the White House on March 26, 1979, officially ending the conflict between the two countries.

When you look at the five fundamentals of the accord, only two were actually achieved. Egypt did get the Sinai Peninsula back, under demilitarized conditions, and the two countries ended their state of war and established diplomatic relations.

But three conditions were never met: Meetings to resolve the Palestine question with Jordan’s involvement stalled; the introduction of Palestinian self-government in the West Bank and Gaza in five years (by 1983) failed; and an end to Israeli settlements never even began.

The accords were never allowed to stand in the way of plans to entrench Israel’s hold on the occupied territories. When US President Jimmy Carter lost re-election on Nov. 4, 1980, and Sadat was assassinated while reviewing a military parade on Oct. 6, 1981, Begin was given the green light to close the door on Sadat’s “dream.”Despite differences, US President Ronald Reagan followed up on Carter’s Middle East peace vision and proposed a “freeze” on settlements in August 1982, urging Israel to grant Palestinians “autonomy” as a step toward statehood.




A page from the Arab News archive from Sept. 18, 1978.

Begin’s reaction was swift. On Sept. 2, 1982, with Carter and Sadat out of the way, Begin led a Knesset move to consolidate Israel’s hold on the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights, increasing the Jewish settler population. Israel, the Cabinet declared, will “reserve the right to apply sovereignty over the territories at the end of the five-year transition period” of Palestinian “autonomy” that was specifically envisioned in the Camp David Accords.

In 1978, the settler population was only 75,000. By 1990, it tripled to 228,000. Ironically, while the accords were supposed to create an environment of hope and optimism, the failure to advance them beyond the return of the Sinai created a fatalism that fueled extremism.

Although peace between Egypt and Israel remains, the failure to achieve peace with the Palestinians has kept the accords as little more than a formal version of an armistice agreement, and relations between the two countries are defined by military cooperation.

  • Ray Hanania was the publisher of an Arab American newspaper in the early 1970s, The Middle Eastern Voice, and an activist for Palestinian rights serving as President of the American Congress for Palestine.

Decoder


Shadow war no more: The tussle between Iran and Israeli spy agency Mossad

A grab of a videoconference screen of an engineer inside Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment plant, shown during a ceremony headed by the country's president on Iran's National Nuclear Technology Day, in the capital Tehran. (AFP/File Photo)
A grab of a videoconference screen of an engineer inside Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment plant, shown during a ceremony headed by the country's president on Iran's National Nuclear Technology Day, in the capital Tehran. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 11 min 52 sec ago

Shadow war no more: The tussle between Iran and Israeli spy agency Mossad

A grab of a videoconference screen of an engineer inside Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment plant, shown during a ceremony headed by the country's president on Iran's National Nuclear Technology Day, in the capital Tehran. (AFP/File Photo)
  • Natanz nuclear plant sabotage lays bare vulnerability to betrayal at the hands of own population
  • Analysts say Tehran’s tepid response is a sign of its desperation for sanctions relief above all else

LONDON: Analysts have said that the blast that struck Iran’s most critical nuclear facility on April 11 is another significant event in a decades-long shadow war between Tehran and its regional adversary Israel.

They say the sabotage has not only exposed Iran’s vulnerability to betrayal at the hands of its own population, but its tepid response has revealed its desperation for sanctions relief above all else.

Unnamed intelligence officials from Mossad told Israeli media and the New York Times last week that the mysterious Natanz explosion was their handiwork. And, according to Yossi Mekelberg, associate fellow with the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House, it is a continuation of the spate of blasts, blackouts, and fires that swept across the Islamic Republic last year — but with one major difference.

“What has changed from last year is how public it is. (Israel) is ready to take responsibility. From a shadow war it has moved to the forefront,” Mekelberg told Arab News.

“This confrontation has been taking place for two decades now, at least. Cyberattacks, assassinations of scientists, attacks on ships — this is something that is ongoing. What you have seen in the last year or so is that it is becoming open, from covert to overt.”

In the past year alone, Iran has been rocked by a relentless series of attacks, assassinations, and sabotages. The country’s top nuclear scientist was killed in a sophisticated attack.

Their entire nuclear archives were stolen and smuggled out of the country, and nuclear, military, and logistics sites across the country have suffered from a series of mysterious setbacks.

An image grab from footage obtained from Iranian State TV IRIB on April 17, 2021 shows the portrait of a man identified as 43-year-old Reza Karimi, saying the intelligence ministry had established his role in last week's "sabotage" on the Natanz nuclear facility. (AFP/File Photo)

According to Mekelberg, these incidents have not only hindered Iran’s economy and nuclear program, but also exposed a fundamental weakness in the regime.

“They have a real issue inside their nuclear program,” he said. “The idea that their top scientist, they couldn’t protect him, and that someone managed to take your nuclear archives out of the country — that is not something you can simply put in your pocket.”

Iranian state television named 43-year-old Iranian national Reza Karimi as the prime suspect in the April sabotage — but said he had already fled the country in the hours before the blast occurred.

Mekelberg and other experts believe the involvement of an Iranian national is indicative of the regime’s core vulnerability: Turncoats within its population, and even within the nuclear program itself.

INNUMBERS

Iranian oil

* $40 - Price per barrel of oil used in Iran’s budget calculations.

* 300,000 - Estimated oil exports in barrels per day (bpd) in 2020.

* 2.8m - Iranian oil exports in bpd in 2018.

“They have a real issue with security. I assume that the more things like this happen, the more paranoid they become about who they can trust, who is working with foreign agencies. Obviously, someone is,” Mekelberg said.

Olli Heinonen, a non-proliferation expert and distinguished fellow at the Washington-based Stimson Center, believes the sophistication of the Natanz attack means there is little doubt that local collaborators from within the regime enabled it.

“Those who have designed and executed these actions have insider information and highly likely local contributors,” Heinonen told Arab News.

This handout satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies on January 8, 2020 shows an overview of Iran's Natanz nuclear facility, south of the capital Tehran. (AFP/Maxar/File Photo)

Like Mekelberg, Heinonen highlighted Iran’s apparent ineptitude in defending even its most critical nuclear facilities and pointed to the stark contrast between the country’s record and another global pariah state’s nuclear program.

“It is worth noting that we have not heard about similar incidents in North Korea,” he said. “It is evident that the (Iranian) security forces have not been able to protect the assets as the leadership had expected.

“This does not come as a surprise. Not all Iranians, including technical professionals, buy the reasonability of the enrichment efforts, the investments for which could be used better elsewhere, even within the nuclear program.”

Tehran has admitted that the attacks caused serious damage at the Natanz facility. Last week, Alireza Zakani, a regime hardliner who heads the Iranian parliament’s research center, referred to “several thousand centrifuges damaged and destroyed” in an interview on state television.

A handout picture released by the official website of Iran's Revolutionary Guard on August 25, 2014, shows an alleged Israeli drone that was shot down above the Natanz uranium enrichment site. (AFP/File Photo)

“From a technical standpoint, the enemy’s plan was rather beautiful,” the head of the Iranian parliament’s energy committee said. “They thought about this and used their experts and planned the explosion so both the central power and the emergency power cable would be damaged.”

Heinonen said the attacks have “certainly slowed production” of 20 percent enriched uranium, which is above the enrichment level needed for nuclear power, but far below the 90 percent required for weapons-grade uranium.

However, he cautioned that production could begin to ramp up again within three months of the attack, and Tehran’s promise to begin enriching uranium to 60 percent in response to the attack could act as a springboard toward rapid development of a nuclear bomb.

“In a short term (60 percent enrichment) does not contribute much to breakout time, but it demonstrates the fact that uranium enrichment is mainly designed to build a nuclear latency; to be in a position to relaunch in short interval a full nuclear weapon acquisition program, if such a decision is made,” he said.

The response to the attacks is part of a delicate balancing act by Tehran, according to Nader Di Michele, an Iran-focused analyst at political risk consultancy Prelia.

This handout powerpoint slide provided by U.S. Central Command damage shows an explosion (L) and a likely limpet mine can be seen on the hull of the civilian vessel M/V Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019. (AFP/File Photo)

“They do not want escalations but the government has to show a response in terms of its foreign policy. That could be aimed at international actors or even its domestic population,” he told Arab News.

Beyond increasing uranium enrichment, it was reported that unknown actors targeted an Israeli-owned cargo ship in the following days. However, Di Michele thinks the damage caused by that attack was, by design, minimal compared with the devastation caused by the Natanz attack.

“There always has to be a response to these attacks, but I think the Iranian delegation understands that there is a limit to what they can do if they want sanctions relief.”

Di Michele said if the ongoing negotiations in Vienna prompt a lifting of sanctions and release of various assets that, in turn, deliver a financial boost to the regime, “we can never be sure what proportion of that would go to support which activities.”

He added: “It can be assumed that a proportion of those assets released would go toward foreign policy activities. What those entail, I couldn’t speculate on.”

---------------

Twitter: @CHamillStewart


Indian capital running out of medical oxygen as pandemic surges

Indian capital running out of medical oxygen as pandemic surges
Updated 45 min 39 sec ago

Indian capital running out of medical oxygen as pandemic surges

Indian capital running out of medical oxygen as pandemic surges
  • PM Modi speaks of virus 'storm' overwhelming country as new daily infections exceed 200,000 for six days running
  • A local hospital with over 500 COVID-19 patients on oxygen has enough supplies for only four hours, Delhi's health minister

NEW DELHI: Indian authorities said Delhi hospitals would start running out of medical oxygen by Wednesday as PM Narendra Modi said a coronavirus “storm” is overwhelming India’s health system.
Major government hospitals in the city of 20 million people had between eight and 24 hours’ worth of oxygen while some private ones had enough for just four to five hours, said Delhi’s deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia.
“If we don’t get enough supplies by tomorrow morning, it will be a disaster,” he said, calling for urgent help from the federal government.
Modi said the federal government was working with local authorities nationwide to ensure adequate supplies of hospital beds, oxygen and anti-viral drugs to combat a huge second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The situation was manageable until a few weeks ago. The second wave of infections has come like a storm,” he said in a televised address to the nation, urging citizens to stay indoors and not panic amid India’s worst health emergency in memory.
“The central and state governments as well as the private sector are together trying to ensure oxygen supplies to those in need. We are trying to increase oxygen production and supply across the country,” he said.
Modi faces criticism that his administration lowered its guard when coronavirus infections fell to a multi-month low in February and allowed religious festivals and political rallies that he himself addressed to go ahead.
India, the world’s second most populous country and currently the hardest hit by COVID-19, reported its worst daily death toll on Tuesday, with large parts of the country now under lockdown amid a fast-rising second surge of contagion.
The health ministry said 1,761 people had died in the past day, raising India’s toll to 180,530 — still well below the 567,538 reported in the United States, though experts believe India’s actual toll far exceeds the official count.
“While we are making all efforts to save lives, we are also trying to ensure minimal impact on livelihoods and economic activity,” Modi said, urging state governments to use lockdowns only as a last resort.
DELHI RUNNING OUT OF OXYGEN
One local hospital with more than 500 COVID-19 patients on oxygen has enough supplies for only four hours, Delhi’s health minister Satyendar Jain said late on Tuesday.
Tata Group, one of India’s biggest business conglomerates, said it was importing 24 cryogenic containers to transport liquid oxygen and help ease the shortage in the country.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Protection has said https://bit.ly/2Qg99IY all travel should be avoided to India, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson canceled a visit to New Delhi that had been scheduled for next week, and his government said it will add India to its travel “red list.”
Several major cities are already reporting far larger numbers of cremations and burials under coronavirus protocols than those in official COVID-19 death tolls, according to crematorium and cemetery workers, the media and a review of government data.
Delhi reported more than 28,000 fresh infections on Tuesday, the highest daily rise ever, with one in three people tested returning a positive result.
“The huge pressure on hospitals and the health system right now will mean that a good number who would have recovered, had they been able to access hospital services, may die,” said Gautam I. Menon, a professor at Ashoka University.
On Tuesday, the health ministry reported 259,170 new infections nationwide — a sixth day over 200,000 and getting closer to the peak of nearly 300,000 seen in the United States in January.
Total coronavirus cases in India are now at 15.32 million, second only to the United States, with epidemiologists saying many more infectious new variants of the virus were one of the main factors behind the latest surge in cases.


Chelsea and Man City set to withdraw from European Super League

 Premier League clubs Chelsea and Manchester City were reported to be preparing the paperwork to withdraw from the breakaway European Super League. (AFP/File Photos)
Premier League clubs Chelsea and Manchester City were reported to be preparing the paperwork to withdraw from the breakaway European Super League. (AFP/File Photos)
Updated 45 min 10 sec ago

Chelsea and Man City set to withdraw from European Super League

 Premier League clubs Chelsea and Manchester City were reported to be preparing the paperwork to withdraw from the breakaway European Super League. (AFP/File Photos)
  • Chelsea and City were among the 12 teams who announced on Sunday that they were setting up a rival to UEFA's Champions League

LONDON: Premier League clubs Chelsea and Manchester City were reported to be preparing the paperwork to withdraw from the breakaway European Super League less than 72 hours after agreeing to join it, in a major blow for the proposed new competition.
Shortly before the BBC reported that the two English clubs were set to back out of the breakaway competition, in Spain the new league went to court to stop the soccer authorities from thwarting its plans.
Chelsea and City were among the 12 teams who announced on Sunday that they were setting up a rival to UEFA's Champions League without the need for annual qualification.
The announcement has prompted a wave of opposition from within the game, political world and public opinion, particularly in England.
The news that Chelsea, owned by Russian Roman Abramovich, were taking steps to pull away from the plan, was celebrated wildly by Chelsea fans who had been protesting outside their team's behind closed-doors Premier League game against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Neither Chelsea, Manchester City nor the Super League organisation immediately responded to a request for comment.
The moves came shortly after the Super League won a preliminary ruling from a Madrid court to stop European soccer body UEFA and the sport's global governing body FIFA from imposing sanctions designed to stop the new formation.
The company set up to run the new league is headquartered in Madrid and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is the league's first chairman.
The court said in a ruling seen by Reuters that FIFA, UEFA and all its associated federations must not adopt "any measure that prohibits, restricts, limits or conditions in any way" the Super League's creation.
It was not immediately clear what authority the Madrid court, which adjudicates corporate disputes, had over the Swiss-based soccer bodies and a source close to UEFA said the organisation was "relaxed" about the ruling.
The Super League has been hoping that a mixture of defensive court actions and momentum would lead soccer's authorities to accept their new competition within the game.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said that the clubs cannot be "half in, half out" of the established framework.
UEFA has threatened to ban the 12 clubs, who include Manchester United and Real Madrid, from domestic and international competition, with Infantino adding his voice to the backlash.
"We strongly disapprove ... if some go their own way then they must live with the consequences of their choice, either you are in, or you are out. You cannot be half in and half out," Infantino told UEFA's congress in Montreux, Switzerland.


Samsung to launch remote control button for Shahid VIP

Sam Barnett, MBC GROUP CEO, and President of Samsung Electronics Middle East and North Africa Sungwan Myung. (Supplied)
Sam Barnett, MBC GROUP CEO, and President of Samsung Electronics Middle East and North Africa Sungwan Myung. (Supplied)
Updated 20 April 2021

Samsung to launch remote control button for Shahid VIP

Sam Barnett, MBC GROUP CEO, and President of Samsung Electronics Middle East and North Africa Sungwan Myung. (Supplied)
  • Shahid VIP becomes first MENA streaming service to have dedicated branded button on Samsung Smart TV remote controls

DUBAI: The premium subscription-based service of Shahid, and Samsung Electronics, have linked up to bring an exclusive Shahid VIP branded button to the new Samsung Smart TVs launched this year.

The partnership marks the first time a MENA-based streaming service will have its own branded button on a Samsung Smart TV remote control.

The South Korean multinational was also the first TV provider to launch Shahid VIP’s Smart TV app.

Buyers of the new Smart TVs might also have the chance to receive a free subscription to Shahid VIP.

Sam Barnett, CEO of MBC Group, said: “Two of the biggest brands in entertainment are coming together to provide a game-changing experience for at-home viewers.

“This is the first time Samsung has integrated a MENA-based streaming service on its TV remote. And this makes Shahid VIP easier to watch for an even bigger audience this year.”

Sungwan Myung, president of Samsung Electronics MENA, said: “It’s extremely exciting for us to be partnering with the region’s No. 1 broadcaster and the world’s leading Arabic streaming platform.

“Our partnership with Shahid VIP provides our users with an extensive library of premium content that caters to a variety of tastes.”


Turkey logs highest daily COVID-19 deaths since pandemic started -data

Turkey logs highest daily COVID-19 deaths since pandemic started -data
Updated 20 April 2021

Turkey logs highest daily COVID-19 deaths since pandemic started -data

Turkey logs highest daily COVID-19 deaths since pandemic started -data
  • Turkey registered its highest daily toll of 346 deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday
  • Total cases stood at 4,384,624 while the total death toll rose to 36,613

ISTANBUL: Turkey recorded 346 deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Tuesday, registering the highest daily death toll since the beginning of the pandemic.
The data also showed the country recorded 61,028 new coronavirus cases in the same period.
The total number of cases stood at 4,384,624 while the total death toll rose to 36,613, according to the data.
Turkey currently ranks fourth globally in the number of daily cases based on a seven-day average, according to a Reuters tally.