On This Day 36 Years Ago: The Signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty

In 1978, after more than a year of diplomatic efforts, the Camp David Accords were signed, establishing a framework for peace between Egypt and Israel. Egypt had been in a state of declared war with Israel since 1948, punctuated by several short but violent conflicts, including the Six-Day War in 1967. In 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance laid the groundwork to get representatives from Egypt and Israel to meet and discuss conditions for ending hostilities and normalizing diplomatic relations. Israel agreed to withdraw its troops from the Sinai Peninsula, and Egypt agreed to officially recognize Israel as a nation. The Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty was signed in a ceremony at the White House on March 26, 1979, and the three leaders—Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin—joined hands and shared big smiles. Sadat and Begin were awarded the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for their work. A couple of years later, President Sadat was assassinated by Islamic extremists from Egypt, angered by his dealings with Israel. The treaty has held for 36 years, despite continued regional tension, the Arab Spring, and turmoil in the leadership of Egypt.

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