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Analysis: From Handshake to Headlines, Egypt-Israel Peace Under Scrutiny

Triple handshake with Carter, Sadat and Begin in the East room-September17th 1978

By: Ahmed Fathi

New York: Amid the serene backdrop of Camp David, Maryland, a historic handshake took place between two unexpected figures – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. This symbolic gesture marked the culmination of extensive negotiations overseen by U.S. President Jimmy Carter, leading to the establishment of a groundbreaking agreement that has upheld peace between Israel and Egypt for over four decades. This accord stands as a pillar of stability in a region often plagued by turmoil.

Since its inception, the peace treaty has endured numerous challenges, including two Palestinian uprisings and conflicts between Israel and Hamas. However, the recent declaration by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deploy Israeli troops into Rafah, a city in Gaza bordering Egypt, has sparked concerns of potential repercussions on the agreement.

The origins of the treaty trace back to 1977 when Prime Minister Begin, staunchly opposed to relinquishing any land gained during the 1967 Six-Day War, including Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, surprised the international community by engaging in talks with President Sadat. These negotiations culminated in the Camp David Accords in September 1978 and the subsequent signing of a peace treaty the following year.

Key provisions of the treaty included Israel's withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula, which would remain demilitarized, and granting Israeli ships passage through the Suez Canal. Moreover, it marked the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and Egypt, signifying the first peace agreement between Israel and an Arab nation.

Recent developments have cast a shadow over the stability of the treaty, with Egypt expressing strong opposition to Israel's proposed military incursion into Rafah. The potential consequences of such actions include the suspension of the peace treaty by Egypt, triggering significant ramifications for both nations.

Voiding the treaty would alter the military landscape along the Israeli-Egyptian border, posing challenges for Israel's security apparatus already engaged in conflicts with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. Additionally, it could jeopardize crucial military aid that Egypt receives from the United States, straining its economy and exacerbating regional tensions.

Observers warn that any escalation of hostilities, particularly an Israeli offensive in Rafah, risks drawing Egypt into the conflict, with catastrophic implications for regional stability. As tensions escalate and diplomatic efforts intensify, the fate of the landmark peace treaty hangs in the balance, shaping the future trajectory of the Middle East.


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