February 3, 2011

A cynical view of the Camp David Accords

A friend writes:
In my opinion, Jimmy Carter decided to buy a foreign policy success.  One with zero content.  But I guess noticing that Sadat has kicked out the Soviets years earlier, that the Suez canal was already open, that even before Camp David  the Mossad had already tipped off Sadat about an assassination plot hatched by Qaddafi - Palestinians backed by Libya  - that'd be cynical. Begin thought that Sadat was satisfied, someone he could live with. And Sadat was satisfied. The purpose of the '73 war had been regaining the canal and self-respect among the Egyptian military, who had been totally humiliated in 67.  That had been achieved.

Real peace happens when the players have decided that they have compatible strategic goals.  That had already happened before Camp David. I guess someone people think that signing treaties is what really defines peace, but of course that is nonsense.   Peace was already a fact well before we paid anyone off.

In much the same way, people seem to think that some clever diplomat caused the rapprochement between China and the US  in the early 1970s. Some silver-tongued devil.  But the real cause was the Soviet threat: they came real close to a nuclear strike [on China's nascent nuclear weapons capability.]  In those circumstances, even _I_ could have been an effective diplomat, even if I had continually addressed the Chinese  as  the "Yellow Peril" in the negotiations.

That reminds me that my son had one of those excruciatingly meta assignments in high school history that have become fashionable: how has the "historiography" of events has changed over time? E.g., how did Northern views of abolitionist terrorist John Brown change from 1859 to 1862 to 1885 to 1975? (The history of history is a great topic for grad school, but just absurdlyhard for high school students who need to learn history first.)

This one was about how have views of the Camp David Accords changed over the last three decades? 

The answer, he found, was that nobody's views had changed at all. The kind of people who had liked it in 1978 -- Washington, Israel, American Jews, and a few at the top of the Egyptian government -- still liked it 30 years later. The kind of people who didn't like it in 1978 -- Palestinians, other Arabs, Russians, and American Arabists -- still didn't like it.

37 comments:

Descartes said...

That is a true assessment. It was in that unfortunate year that Begin begun to settle the Palestinian lands, a move condemned widely by the Israeli left.

Its still pretty obvious what happens today, the wholesale destruction of Palestinian homes, the dismantling of the cultural center of Palestine, among others.

Egypt actually offered a treaty that was essentially Camp David before that, but which was rejected due to the optimism of the Six Day War.

I would also like to add that this was the final breaking point of Panarabism and any notion of a secular Arab union that was desired. It was from there that Israel was finally able to launch offensives(unprovoked invasion of Lebanon, in which the PLO actually observed the truce but which Israel was against due to the truce hampering their lebensraum ambitions) and establishing itself as having total domination over Palestine.

Descartes said...

Let me clarify when I state the cultural center as meaning East Jerusalem, where that is occurring and where much of the settlements are focuses around.

Israel essentially wants to severe it from the rest of the West Bank.

airtommy said...

Good analysis by the first commenter Descartes.

I'll only add that Camp David explicitly called for Israel to leave the West Bank and Gaza and let the Palestinians have a state there, along with sharing Jerusalem. This part of Camp David was ignored by Israel from the beginning without a peep of protest from Sadat. It was clear from the moment it was signed that there was a tacit or secret agreement by all parties to ignore that part of the Accords. That's why Sadat was assassinated.

Henry Canaday said...

And of course, since Camp David was a 20th Century story, the Churchills were involved. Winston had negotiated, on the eve of World War I, the first deal with a Persian Gulf state, Iran, for British development of that country’s oil resources. His son Randolph claimed he made the first suggestion to Sadat, through I believe the king of Morocco, that a deal with Israel for the return of the Sinai was possible.

Anonymous said...

Its typical that anything that touches on Israel or "the Joos" will get 1,000 word responses.

For some reason both the anti-semites, the semites, and the Zionists, REALLY, REALLY care about anything about that related to the Jews.

The rest of us not so much. I'm frankly a little sad that my country, the USA, now is obsessed with a tiny non-Christian minority and a tiny , irrelevant country called "Israel".

Good grief, can you imagine Lincoln, or Washington or Teddy Roosevelt giving a shit about the Jews or "Palestine".

Guess that what happens when you let a bunch of Greedheads, Zionist Southern boys and Semites take over your country.

E Henry Thripshaw said...

Surprising that nobody has mentioned all the Egyptian immigrants over here. We got lots of 'em in Noo Joisy, and I've worked with and become friends with these guys. They like serious political discussions, and one of the themes I've heard is "how Sadat got (insert crude sexual act associated with prison here) by the Israelis at Camp David."
The other thing I've heard rumored was that Sadat was a CIA asset. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to imagine that many foreign leaders are on Uncle Scam's secret payroll.

Luke Lea said...

"Zionist Southern boys" I like that.

beowulf said...

The history of history is a great topic for grad school, but just absurdly hard for high school students who need to learn history

That's so irritating to hear, sounds like the constructivist teaching nonsense that Ken DeRosa has written about many times.
http://d-edreckoning.blogspot.com/2006/10/folly-of-constructivism-unmasked.html

Larry, San Francisco said...

It was not all about the Jews. Remember this was during the cold war. The accords cemented Egypt's alliance with the US and its move away from Russia. In the 1960's Egypt had been a revolutionary state that had tried to overthrow the Saudis, our longest ally, through a nasty (i.e. with chemical weapons) proxy war in Yemen. After the accords the only states left in the mideast that were allied with the soviets were the relatively loser states of Libya, Iraq and Syria. Obviously that situation did not last too long, we lost Iran the next year but it looked good at the time.

Anonymous said...

Well, the view in the Arab world that Sadat was a traitor and an American tool is the correct one.
AS mentioned ad nauseum, Egypt was wracked by shocking bread riots in '77 that caused Sadat to abase himself towards the Americans - who as the price of the deal 'forced' friendliness toward Israel.
Of course Sadat was assasinated in 1981, precisely because of the reasons stated above.
Sadat was nothing more than a for-hire American whore - and the Arab people know it.

Anonymous said...

"Its typical that anything that touches on Israel or "the Joos" will get 1,000 word responses.

For some reason both the anti-semites, the semites, and the Zionists, REALLY, REALLY care about anything about that related to the Jews."


Huh? Where are the 1,000 word responses? Where are the people obsessing over "the Joos"? Oh, wait, there aren't any - there's just you, someone obsessing over those awful other people who are allegedly "obsessed" with "the Joos".

In other words you feel compelled to genuflect before a very powerful social taboo, before you allow yourself the luxury of taking a few, very mild, backhanded swipes at said taboo.

"The rest of us not so much. I'm frankly a little sad that my country, the USA, now is obsessed with a tiny non-Christian minority and a tiny , irrelevant country called "Israel"."

Objectively speaking, that makes you just as much an "anti-semite" as the rest of us. But no, you don't "obsess" over it, unlike the rest of us, do you? You have just the right amount of concern - just enough, and not an ounce more.

Sheesh, get over yourself already. And, welcome to the club, comrade.

Anonymous said...

Talking about Sadat, I rememeber reading somewhere that his mother was of pure black African descent and of rather lowly status, unlike mosr elite Egyptians who are of 'dark caucasian' ethnicity.

sabril said...

"hat Begin begun to settle the Palestinian lands"

Question: After Jews were ethnically cleansed from Hebron in the 20s and 30s; and East Jerusalem and Gaza in the 40s, did those areas become "Palestinian lands" forever?

"Egypt actually offered a treaty that was essentially Camp David before that,"

Would you mind summarizing the treaty and giving me a link? TIA.

"unprovoked invasion of Lebanon,"

So Southern Lebanon was not used as a base to attack Israel before 1978?

sabril said...

"I'll only add that Camp David explicitly called for Israel to leave the West Bank and Gaza"

Would you mind quoting the part of the treaty which says that? TIA

rob said...

bread riots in '77 that caused Sadat to abase himself towards the Americans - who as the price of the deal 'forced' friendliness toward Israel.
Of course Sadat was assasinated in 1981, precisely because of the reasons stated above.
Sadat was nothing more than a for-hire American whore - and the Arab people know it.


lolwut? Sadat 'whored' himself to the US? A whoring that involved regaining territory lost following defeat in a war of choice, promising not to make war on a country that kicked pretty much the entire Arab world's ass more than once, and also kept untold numbers of Egyptians from starving in the streets because they're too dumb to feed themselves?

The non-whoring position would be to start another war, lose, Israel takes some chunk of Egypt, and all the while his citizens (subjects, really) starve to death. Arabs really don't give a shit about the lives of Arabs, do they?

Anonymous said...

Treaties make de jure what was de facto.

Anonymous said...

The reason your kid has to write about historiography rather than history in high school is simply that the teacher is too smart.

I suffered myself in high school English when our brilliant teacher read Beowulf to us in Old English. Later she read Chaucer to us in Middle English. This prepared me later in life to better appreciate the 3D Hollywood cartoon movie of Beowulf.

Such teachers shouldn't be in a high school classroom. But I understand how it happens. Someone thinks they can close the black-white performance gap by hiring particularly smart teachers. Heroic teachers. Jaime Escalante.

You have recently had a lot of postings and comments on this benighted notion. I continue to maintain that we spend too much on schools, and hire over qualified teachers. Let's dumb down high school and save some money.

Kids should learn dates and names in their HS history class. Obama is going to insist that every burger flipper in the land has a college degree. So there is plenty of time for analysis and contemplation later.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

I remember reading somewhere that his mother was of pure black African descent ...

I once knew a German woman who was half-Egyptian from her father. She looked (and behaved, for that matter) like an American light-skinned black.

James Kabala said...

"Sadat was a traitor and an American tool.... Sadat was nothing more than a for-hire American whore."

I really wonder how Camp David was not in Egypt's best interests, however. Egypt gave up claims to a tiny overcrowded sliver of land that had never been part of historic Egypt until it had fallen into their laps by chance a mere thirty years earlier. In return, they got back a larger and more strategically important area, plus oodles of money and the friendship of the most powerful nation in the world. If you want to say Sadat sold out the Palestinians or the pan-Arab cause, you may have a case, but I don't see how Camp David sold out Egypt itself in any way.

Steve Sailer said...

Yeah, I can't see how Camp David was so bad for Egyptian nationalists as opposed to Pan-Arabists or Islamists. Egypt, the Gift of the Nile, is the original nation-state. If I was the ruler off Egypt, getting paid not to lose wars to Israel over a bunch of non-Egyptian Arabs sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

Silver said...

Objectively speaking, that makes you just as much an "anti-semite" as the rest of us. But no, you don't "obsess" over it, unlike the rest of us, do you? You have just the right amount of concern - just enough, and not an ounce more.

Scoff if you will, but the notion of "just the right amount of concern" is not absurd on its face. It's difficult to say where that point lies but the basic idea that some things in life are not important enough to care too much about is sound enough.

What does "caring too much" ("obsession") look like in this case? Well, when it reaches the point where it really is no exaggeration to say that there exist people for whom "the Jew" is quite seriously the fons et origo of all that ails them, I'd feel okay about describing that as "obsession." How about you?

airtommy said...

sabril said...
"I'll only add that Camp David explicitly called for Israel to leave the West Bank and Gaza"

Would you mind quoting the part of the treaty which says that? TIA


Sure, I'd love to. Just quickly remind me why you are asking (what reason you have to question this) and what is your interpretation of Camp David's ruling on Palestine? I just want to make sure you are genuinely curious rather than a concern troll. TIA

Descartes said...

@Sabril

Even if these small cases of ethnic cleansing(compared to the widescale cleansing of 350k Palestinians by force), that changes no facts about what occurred following the Begin plans.

Southern Lebanon was in that position, but a treaty was occurring that had been observed by the PLO for a couple of months. Likewise, Hamas has recently observed a four month treaty that Israel broke half a year before Cast Lead. The PLO were too busy killing Christians.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/LC1973Egypt.html

"On February 4, 1971, Sadat announced a new peace initiative that contained a significant concession: he was willing to accept an interim agreement with Israel in return for a partial Israeli withdrawal from Sinai. A timetable would then be set for Israel's withdrawal from the rest of the occupied territories in accordance with UN Resolution 242. Egypt would reopen the canal, restore diplomatic relations with the United States, which had been broken after the June 1967 War, and sign a peace agreement with Israel through Jarring. Sadat's initiative fell on deaf ears in Tel Aviv and in Washington, which was not disposed to assisting the Soviet Union's major client in the region. Disillusioned by Israel's failure to respond to his initiative, Sadat rejected the Rogers Plan and the cease-fire."

This is also mentioned during his speech to Knesset in 77.

sabril said...

"Just quickly remind me why you are asking (what reason you have to question this) "

I am asking because I am skeptical. I would think that if Israel flagrantly dishonored a treaty obligation, I would have heard about it many times before now.

Now please answer my question.

sabril said...

"Even if these small cases of ethnic cleansing(compared to the widescale cleansing of 350k Palestinians by force), that changes no facts about what occurred following the Begin plans."

I'm not sure what this means. I asked a simple question. After Jews were ethnically cleansed from Hebron in the 20s and 30s; and East Jerusalem and Gaza in the 40s, did those areas become "Palestinian lands" forever?

It's a simple question.

"Southern Lebanon was in that position, but a treaty was occurring that had been observed by the PLO for a couple of months."

What was this "treaty" called? When was it signed? And can you give me a link? TIA

""On February 4, 1971, Sadat announced a new peace initiative "

Well do you agree that this peace initiative would have required Israel to start withdrawing from the Sinai before a treaty was finalized; would not have required the Sinai to be demilitarized; and would have required Israel to leave the Golan Heights and West Bank?

Descartes said...

"Well do you agree that this peace initiative would have required Israel to start withdrawing from the Sinai before a treaty was finalized; would not have required the Sinai to be demilitarized; and would have required Israel to leave the Golan Heights and West Bank?"

No, his offer was solely for withdrawing from the Sinai. There was nothing about Palestinian lands. Likewise, demilitarization wasn't Israel's initial goal so its rejection didn't matter. They wanted to settle the land and had expelled Bedouins.

"What was this "treaty" called? When was it signed? And can you give me a link? TIA"

"The US mediated a cease-fire, "and after mid-1981 the Lebanese-Israeli border was quiet," William Quandt -- a well-known Middle East expert and NSC staffer during the Nixon and Carter administrations -- writes in his history of the "peace process." Quandt's version is the standard one. The "border was quiet" in the sense that the PLO adhered to the cease-fire rigorously while Israel continued its violations: bombing and killing civilians, sinking fishing boats, violating Lebanese air space thousands of times, and carrying out other provocations designed to elicit some PLO reaction that could be used as a pretext for the planned invasion. The border was "quiet" because the crossborder terror was all Israeli, and only Arabs were being killed.

The occasional reports here reflected the common understanding. Thus in April 1982, Israel bombed alleged PLO centers south of Beirut, killing two dozen people, in retaliation for what it called a PLO "terrorist act": an Israeli soldier had been killed when his jeep struck a land-mine in illegally-occupied southern Lebanon. The Washington Post sagely observed that "this is not the moment for sermons to Israel. It is a moment for respect for Israel's anguish -- and for mourning the latest victims of Israeli-Palestinian hostility." Typically, it is Israel's anguish that we must respect when still more Arabs are murdered by Israeli terror, and are thus to be seen as victims of mutual hostility, no agent indicated. "

This source may be a bit dodgier, Noam Chomsky afterall, but likewise its verifiable.

As for the actual ceasefire

http://www.nytimes.com/1981/07/25/world/cease-fire-border-fighting-declared-israel-plo-us-sees-hope-for-wider-peace.html

No, no lands are given to a people forever if we are to obey standard rules of conquests.

However, if one is to agree with likeminded people(this case the UN, peace organizations, Tikkun, B'Tselem, most countries of the world), then some areas that were conquered and being settled should be given back. In this case the entirety of the occupied territories.

Descartes said...

To Add, its commonly assumed that the brutal terrorist Abu Nidal was one of the people who broke the ceasefire. However, he was neither a PLO and was in fact fighting with them.

Descartes said...

"I am asking because I am skeptical. I would think that if Israel flagrantly dishonored a treaty obligation, I would have heard about it many times before now."

There's good reason why. Its likely the same reason why you often hear of the Cambodian genocide by communists, but not a word of the East Timorese genocide by Indonesians, supplied and armed by America. Or the brutal attacks and repressions of the Kurds by US-armed and backed Turkish forces, while often about ones waged against Kosovars.

airtommy said...

sabril said...

I am asking because I am skeptical. I would think that if Israel flagrantly dishonored a treaty obligation, I would have heard about it many times before now.


The media holding Israel accountable? LOL! Are you showing off that famous Jewish sense of humor?

If you were skeptical because of your prejudice, why didn't you just go and read the Accords?

"Egypt and Israel agree that, in order to ensure a peaceful and orderly transfer of authority, and taking into account the security concerns of all the parties, there should be transitional arrangements for the West Bank and Gaza for a period not exceeding five years. In order to provide full autonomy to the inhabitants, under these arrangements the Israeli military government and its civilian administration will be withdrawn as soon as a self-governing authority has been freely elected by the inhabitants of these areas to replace the existing military government. "

Camp David Accords

Jordan and Egypt withdrew from Occupied Palestine but Israel expanded.

airtommy said...

As it turns out, it was actually official Israeli government policy to ignore the Camp David requirement to leave the West Bank.

From Noam Chomsky's Fateful Triangle (p62):

Specifically, it is plain, on the ground, that the government of Israel never had the slightest intention of joining “the peace process” in anything other than a rhetorical sense, beyond the Sinai agreements, which had the merit of giving Israel a free hand elsewhere by effectively excluding Egypt from the conflict. Not only is this obvious from the settlement program and the internal repression, but it is even clear from the official record, a fact that Abba Eban has pointed out. He cites the official “Government policy guidelines” adopted by the Knesset (by a single vote), which state that “After the transition period laid down in the Camp David accords, Israel will raise its claim and will act to fulfill its rights to sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and the Gaza district.” “There is no resource of language,” he notes, “that can possibly bridge the gulf” between this decision and the Camp David Agreement, which leaves the status of the territories to be determined after the transition period by negotiations between Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and elected representatives of the inhabitants of the territories, not by Israeli actions. Eban states that he is unable to find any precedent “in the jurisprudence of any government for such a total contradiction between an international engagement and a national statement of policy.

sabril said...

"There's good reason why. "

I'm skeptical, since Israel seems to get a lot of attention. For example consider the number of reports by Human Rights Watch which attack Israel. Consider the activities of the UN. My sense is that Israel is under a LOT of scrutiny.

But anyway, there is no need to speculate. Just quote the part of the Camp David treaty which requires Israel to leave the West Bank and Gaza.

"To Add, its commonly assumed that the brutal terrorist Abu Nidal was one of the people who broke the ceasefire. "

I don't understand your point. You claim that there was a treaty which was being observed by the PLO before the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. I'm asking you to tell me what this treaty is called, when it was signed, and to give me a link.

Also, are you claiming that no entity whatsoever was using Lebanon as a base of operations against Israel at the time? Or is your claim limited to the PLO?

sabril said...

"As it turns out, it was actually official Israeli government policy to ignore the Camp David requirement to leave the West Bank"

I'm not sure what your point is here. Your claim is that the Camp David treaty explicitly called for Israel to leave the West Bank and Gaza.

I'm asking you to quote the part of the treaty which says so.

rob said...

We have to give Mubarak credit. Not many people can pull off negotiating a $2 billion/year bribe for agreeing not to get their asses kicked.

David said...

>The reason your kid has to write about historiography rather than history in high school is simply that the teacher is too smart.[...] Such teachers shouldn't be in a high school classroom.[...] We spend too much on schools, and hire over qualified teachers. Let's dumb down high school<

True, and H.L. Mencken made a similar proposal about grammar school. A good teacher is only slightly ahead of his students mentally (thus comprehensible), but more enthusiastic about the subject (thus inspirational), and willing to apply discipline, including regular physical discipline (thus effective at what is today called "classroom management"). These days, we too often get the opposite: a mentality-chasm between the pedagogue and his charges; a time-server or burnt-out mentality; and a wuss type (or regulation-hampered soul) who's used badly by the rough kids. Learning, today, is too often done in spite of the teacher and the classroom setup.

airtommy said...

It's impressive how Sabril has been unable to Google the Camp David Accord. It reveals the insincerity of his inquiries. I posted it a week ago but for some reason Steve censored it. I'll try again:

"Egypt and Israel agree that, in order to ensure a peaceful and orderly transfer of authority, and taking into account the security concerns of all the parties, there should be transitional arrangements for the West Bank and Gaza for a period not exceeding five years. In order to provide full autonomy to the inhabitants, under these arrangements the Israeli military government and its civilian administration will be withdrawn as soon as a self-governing authority has been freely elected by the inhabitants of these areas to replace the existing military government."

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/Camp%20David%20Accords

Egypt left, Jordan left, Israel is still there after three and a half decades.

airtommy said...

My sense is that Israel is under a LOT of scrutiny.

I believe you. Your perception is obviously a result of your conditioning. The powers of self-delusion are vast (e.g. Darn it, I just can't find the Camp David Accords with Google. Oh well.)

Isn't it strange that the Israeli role in 9/11 (well-documented) has not been scrutinized at all?

sabril said...

"It's impressive how Sabril has been unable to Google the Camp David Accord. "

It's not a matter of ability, it's simply that I'm not your research assistant. It's not my responsibility to go looking for materials to back up your claims.

"there should be transitional arrangements for the West Bank and Gaza for a period not exceeding five years"

And when did those 5 years start to run, according to you? i.e., when was the administrative council established and inaugurated and when did it effectuate its adherence to the Camp David Accords?

"I believe you. Your perception is obviously a result of your conditioning"

Well do you agree that the UN Human Rights Commission pays disproportionate attention to Israel? What about NGOs like Human Rights Watch?

"Isn't it strange that the Israeli role in 9/11"

Can you summarize the best evidence that Israel was involved in 9/11?

TIA.