- A Chronological Presentation
Peace With The Arabs? (1977 - 1993)
Begin og Carter at the signing
ceremony of the peace treaty between
Israel and Egypt, 1979.
1979 - Peace with Egypt
The ensuing negotiations were hosted by the American
presi-dent, Jimmy Carter, at his summer residence, Camp
David. In 1979 the parties signed a peace treaty, which
included a total Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Desert,
in return for Egyptian recognition of Israel's right to
exist along with respect for the agreed borders. Regaining
After four years of unsuccessful peace negotiations
in the wake of the Yom Kippur War the Egyptian president,
Anwar Sadat, took an unpresidented step and accepted
the Israeli prime minister, Menahem Begin's, invitation
and travelled to Jerusalem in order to discuss the prospects
of peace between the two countries. It was a captivated
Israeli public, who watched Sadat's televised address
to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
of the Gaza Strip, also conquered by Israel during the
Six Day War twelve years earlier, was not in Egypt's interest.
Jewish settlers are evacuated
from a rooftop during the dis-
mantlement of the town of
Yamit i Sinai, 1982.
The withdrawal from Sinai was completed in stages during
the following three years, and included the dismantlement
in 1982 of one larger and several smaller Jewish settlements
established since 1967. The peace treaty with Israel was
met with great resistance in the Arab World, and in 1979
Egypt was excluded from the Arab League. In 1981 Sadat
was murdered by a
member of an Egyptian fundamentalist Muslim organization.
- The Lebanon War
In 1982 there was quiet on most of Israel's
borders. Only from Lebanon the PLO frequently mounted
attacks against northern Israel. Israel's defense minister,
Ariel Sharon, worked out a plan in cooperation with
Bashir Gemayel, the leader of a Christian militia in
Lebanon, to put an end to PLO's power base in the country.
Israel undertook the task of neutralizing PLO's forces
all the way to Beirut, after which Gemayel's "Phalangist"
militia was to deal with the PLO guerrillas that had
entrenched themselves in the capital. When Gemayel had
taken over power in Lebanon, a peace deal was to be
worked out between the two countries.
Lebanon and northern Israel.
The Israeli forces invaded Lebanon on
June 6, 1982, and defeated both the PLO guerrillas and
the Syrian army, which had occupied eastern Lebanon,
and on June 13 reached southern Beirut. But Gemayel
refused to send his militia into the streets of West
Beirut. Instead the Israelis besieged West Beirut and
initiated a massive bombardment of PLO's positions in
the city. After two months the guerrillas gave up, and
were by agreement evacuated from Lebanon to other Arab
countries. PLO's leader, Yasser Arafat, went into exile
Gemayel was elected president in Lebanon,
but Israel's subsequent attempt to reach a peace agreement
with him failed. In September Gemayel was killed in
a bomb attack. Two days later his Christian Phalangists
massacred at least 700 Palestinians in the refugees
camps of Sabra and Shatila outside Beirut. The Israeli
army, which controlled the area, did not intervene.
After public protests in Israel, an Israeli commission
of inquiry found that Sharon indirectly shared responsibility
for the massacre, and he was forced to leave the post
of defense minister. In January 1985 Israel pulled its
forces out of Lebanon, with the exeption of a 10 km
(6 mile) wide security buffer north of the Israeli border.
1987 - The First "Intifada"
In December 1987 spontaneous riots broke out
in Gaza and the West Bank, with Palestinian youth attacking
Israeli soldiers and civilians with stones and Molotov
cocktails. The disturban-ces quickly developed into a
regular uprising with a general strike, boycott of Israeli
products and burning barricades in the
streets. PLO's attempt to direct the uprising from its
headquarters in Tunesia succeeded only to a limited extend,
while local groups, including the Islamic organization
Hamas, had more influence on the events. The Israeli police
and military tried to sup-press the demonstrations, and
there were many victims. When the "intifada"
died out in 1991, 160 Israelis had been killed. Of the
2100 Palestinians that lost their lives, almost half had
been executed by fellow Palestinians due to internal strife
or suspicion of cooperation with Israel.
youth throw stones against
Israeli soldiers, 1987.
1991 - The Gulf War
When Iraq invaded Kuwait in the summer of 1990,
Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians chose
to side with Saddam Hussein. Many Palestinians cheered
as Iraqi Scud missiles rained down on Israel, while its
entire population was crammed into sealed bomb shelters
for fear of chemical and biological weapons. The missiles
caused only limited damage, however, and Israel avoided
being dragged further into the conflict. Due to the Palestinian
support for Saddam Hussein, the 200.000 Palestinians that
had used to work in Kuwait, were expelled. Saudi Arabia
and other Gulf states in opposition to Saddam Hussein
completely halted their financial support for the PLO.
Tel Aviv under attack. Iraq
launched 39 Scud missiles
against Israel during the
1991 - The
On American initiative a peace conference
was arranged with the participation of Israel, Syria,
Lebanon and a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. The
parties met in Madrid on November 1st, 1991, and both
Israelis and Palestinians expressed willingness to
negotiate a compromise on a transitional arrangement
with Palestinian self-government. The negotiations
continued in Washington, but even though the parties
met frequently throughout the following year, the
differences only grew. The Palestinian organization,
Hamas, in December of 1992 committed a string of terror
attacks against Israel, the latter responding by deporting
400 Hamas members to Lebanon. The Palestinian delegation
withdrew from the meetings in Washington, and though
they were resumed in the spring of 1993, the negotiations
Chapter 4 - Peace With The Arabs? - Page 2