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Tears of the children of Camp David

September 18, 2023 at 9:00 pm

Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin embrace, while US President Jimmy Carter applauds after signing the Camp David Accords in the East Room of the White House, September 18, 1978, in Washington, DC [David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images]

Yesterday marked 45 years since the signing of the Camp David Accords between Anwar Sadat and the Prime Minister of the Israeli occupation, Menachem Begin, under the auspices of US President, Jimmy Carter. These two agreements represented a framework for reaching what was known as the Egyptian-Israeli “peace treaty” in the following year, 1979.

The parties agreed that the main basis for settling the conflict between the occupation and the surrounding Arab countries would be Security Council Resolution 242 in all its parts, as well as Resolution 338, which both establish the principle of the inadmissibility of a country to seize the lands of another country by force, and the principle of the necessity of Arabs to recognise the existence of Israel within its borders, safe and recognised.

It is important to ask: What did Israel take and what did it give to the Arabs after 45 years? Less than four years after the signing, the occupation state was attacking Lebanon and occupying its lands after its invasion in 1982. After more than four decades, the Zionist settlement is still expanding in the Palestinian Territories occupied after 1967, dominating the Al-Aqsa Mosque and expanding deep into the Arab map, devouring one capital after another, at the tables of normalisation.

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Therefore, Camp David was more important than the possession of the nuclear bomb for the Israeli occupation, as it succeeded in raising its flags in the skies of five Arab capitals, as well as others on the way.

In Egypt, Anwar Sadat was deceiving himself and the Egyptians when he justified this crazy leap into the American-Zionist embrace by saying it would achieve prosperity and economic development. I remember a funny saying attributed to him, “Those who will not become rich in my era will never become rich.” His government had decided that Egypt would turn to itself and search for its strategic interests, moving away from its national role and commitment, an approach expressed by Sadat’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Boutros Ghali, in his memoir titled Between the Nile and Jerusalem, where he wrote, “If we much choose between the Arab world and Africa, what should we choose? In short, what is more important for Egypt: the Nile, the symbol of the future, or Jerusalem, the symbol of history? What is more important: geography or history?”

Of course, the choice was that geography was more important than history, and that Egypt’s interest should be in the Nile, not in Jerusalem. We discovered, after 45 years of this Sadat-ian logic, that Egypt had resigned from history (Jerusalem and Palestine) and had not preserved geography (the Nile and Africa), in addition to the islands of Tiran and Sanafir, later. The Nile has now become a purely Ethiopian issue, in which Cairo has no choice but to beg and complain about the repeated filling of the Ethiopian Dam reservoir.

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Prosperity did not come, and poverty did not disappear. Rather, it became more brutal and tyrannical against the citizen who was ruled by successive authorities who became aware that their survival or departure depended on the Israeli will. Therefore, their only battle became protecting their seats. They reached the point of begging for grants, aid and loans from abroad, and begging for support and sympathy from the masses that they impoverished.

In the Arab world, Camp David did not stop the war and did not bring peace. Its only achievement is that the occupation no longer fears blame in the war and no measure could pull it away from its Arab friends, partners and allies under the umbrella of the joint American command, meaning that the cost of the war has become much cheaper than before for Israel, costing it almost nothing.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Araby Al-Jadeed on Monday, 18 September, 2023.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.