Camp David

Aug 30th 1978
“Camp David: War or Peace”
Folha da Tarde

The article raises a few hypotheses as to what could be the result from the Camp David negotiations. It starts by recognizing the ability of the Egyptian president and the fact he had both deceived General Nasser and officially recognized the legitimacy of the State of Israel before the Knesset. It points out Sadat was not aligned with the other Arab chiefs of state but still casts some doubt as to whether Sadat was really genuine in relation to his declared intention of making peace with Israel. Israel, the article says, could still have some reasons not to trust him, although they had declared the intention of returning 98% of the Sinai peninsula to Egypt. The article closes with the remark that, if the negotiations failed, both Sadat and Begin could fall from their position.

Aug 17th 1978
“Perspective of Peace in Camp David”
Folha da Tarde

The article emphasizes the strategic importance, for the United States, to have Israel as an ally, especially due to the information obtained by the Shin Bet. According to the article, the Israeli intelligence is superior both to the CIA and the KGB, and thanks to it the USA had reliable information about Russian weaponry. Also, it mentions that the Russian influence has been kept from Saudi Arabia and the UAE due to the cooperation between Israeli intelligence and the USA. The article also demonstrates that the cooperation with Israel is essential for the security of the USA and the Western world, which has been publicly recognized by US officials. Therefore, it says, it was improbable that Carter would force Begin to yield to all of Sadat’s demands as part of the Camp David agreements. It also interestingly compares this situation to the position of Eisenhower in 1957, who according to the article “forced” Ben Gurion to retreat from Gaza and Sinai, consequently opening the Middle East to the influence of the Soviet Union allied to radical Arab regimes.

May 21st 1978
“Crises of Israel with its allies”
Folha da Tarde

This article was written by Isaac Akcelrud from Jerusalem, with reference to an exclusive interview Ben Abraham had conducted with the vice-editor of the official Egyptian newspaper, the Al Ahram. Ben Abraham had taken the initiative to visit Egypt and request the interview, with the understanding that, being an official media organ, it would reflect the Egyptian government’s views about the pre Camp David negotiations, which had remained stagnant for a few months.

Important topics in the interview:

  • Sadat did not have the approval of other Arab states for his negotiations with Israel, but Jordan and Syria might also sign a separate peace with Israel following the Egyptian agreement.
  • Israel would receive as guarantees of peace 8 demilitarized zones, including Sinai, besides rectification of borders, based on mutual concessions. It was possible that a UN corps would be allocated close to the new borders.
  • The Palestinians did need an autonomous country, but this would be federatively linked to Jordan. They would have this situation for 5 years and then hold a referendum to decide whether they would have a federal link to Jordan or to Israel. They would not have full autonomy because Egypt did not want a Cuba in the Middle East.
  • Israel would establish a quota of Palestinians allowed to return to Israel with full citizenship, and the remainders would be distributed among Arab states, also with full citizenship. (The other Arab nations have not agreed yet to this because “there is a difference between absorbing people who have a national home and desperate people who can cause problems”).
  • The Egyptians see the Russian presence in the Middle East, especially in Sudan, with much concern, because their goal is to have access to the oil routes.
  • Egypt is in a frail economic situation and therefore it needs peace to develop. It does not want war. However, if Sadat’s negotiations fail, the greatest danger for Israel lies in the possibility of the radical left seizing power in Egypt.
  • There is no hindrance to both Egypt and Israel becoming members of the NATO.

Sept 13th 1978
“Middle East: the beginning of a new age”
Folha da Tarde

This article weighs on the outcome of the Camp David agreements. Ben Abraham says Anwar Sadat would be considered as on the greatest statesmen of the 20th century, besides Churchill and De Gaulle, since he did not offer almost anything to Israel, and received back everything, including airports modernized by the Israelis and rural communities installed in the desert using Israeli agrarian technology.

Sadat was accused by radical countries of breaking the Arab unity. Ben Abraham, however, argues that this unity has never existing, mentioning the Black September and war in Lebanon as examples. Ben Abraham also says Moscow was irritated with the agreements since they would diminish Russian influence in the Middle East. Also, he says, Sadat has unconditional support of the Egyptian people. He also mentions Egypt would benefit economically from the agreements, especially in relation to tourism and agrarian technology, besides exports.

Ben Abraham says Egypt gave an example of good sense that could one day be followed by other Arab countries.

Oct 10th 1978
“Sadat: the enigma went to the grave”
Folha da Tarde

The article makes several considerations about the impact Anwar Sadat’s death would have on the Middle East and its relations with the Western world. He starts by affirming that, paradoxical as it may seem, Sadat’s murder would strengthen Israel’s stance and weaken Arab extremists, especially the PLO.

According to the article, since the Iranian Revolution the USA needed another strong partner in the Middle East, assigning to Israel a secondary position not to gain the opposition of the Arab countries.

Sadat’s Egypt was the only country that could prove a good Arab ally to USA, despite the boycott by the other Arab countries, with the exception of the Saudis, the UAE and Kuwait. The USA had thus agreed to supply military support to them with the claim that the bloc opposed to the Russians would be strengthened.

The article then questions about what Anwar Sadat would have done after receiving Sinai back – that is the enigma that went to the grave. It summaries Sadat’s political trajectory, qualified as simultaneously calculated and unpredictable, with a constant change of allegiances. The article closes by casting doubt over whether the agreement with Israel was just a maneuver intended at recovering Sinai or if it came from a sincere desire to live in peace with Israel at the cost of being marginalized in the Arab world.

Sept 19th 1978
“Cater in Camp David – Mission Accomplished”
Folha da Tarde

The article claims that the Camp David agreements were a key move to stop the Russian expansion in the Middle East and in the Horn of Africa, to the credit of US president Jimmy Carter. The military bases in Sinai would later be delivered by Egypt to the NATO. The US would need military bases both in Egypt and in Israel, since Iran was no longer an ally and Turkey had just asked for the American bases to be removed from its territory after the Cyprus war. Egypt would receive economic support from the US while counterpoising Cuban influence on African countries.