Essay on Camp David - Case Study

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Pages: 25

WWS Case Study 1/02

The Camp David Accords
A Case Study on International Negotiation


The Camp David Accords
A Case Study on International Negotiation

Jonathan Oakman WWS 547- Final Project January 8, 2002

1 On November 19, 1977, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat shocked the international community by traveling to Jerusalem to speak before the Knesset. This unprecedented olive branch, offered to a country upon which he had ordered a surprise attack just three years before, set the stage for a peace process that would culminate sixteen months later in the Egypt-Israeli Peace Treaty. The pivotal point in this process came in September 1977 when President Carter brought Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem
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Thus, the trip was a dangerous gambit for him because he was giving up much bargaining leverage without being certain of a worthwhile payoff. It is instructive to look at why Sadat made this move. He was worried about the possibility of another Geneva conference for two reasons: 1) he did not want to deal with the Soviets and 2) he was afraid that Egypt’s desire to regain control of the Sinai would be eclipsed by other pan-Arab interests (Touval 288). Sadat felt that Egypt’s power in the Arab world was eroding, and his strategy focused in part on reasserting its leadership role. To achieve this goal, he could not afford to be obstructionist and damage Egypt’s

3 relationship with the United States. So the best strategy facing Sadat was to work bilaterally with Israel and head off the Geneva process. Sadat knew very well that Arab fundamentalists would criticize him for working with Israel. But he also realized that the more dramatic his move, the more it could galvanize support for the peace process. Furthermore, he knew that public opinion is swayed more by symbolic gestures than by political arguments or secret deals. He thus took a calculated risk that the psychological effects of a high visibility trip to Jerusalem, which would give the peace process momentum, would overpower the negative backlash expected from the Arab