Image of Menahem Begin, Jimmy Carter and Anwar Sadat at Camp David

Source: 24-0153a, The National Archives

In the 1970s, the Middle East was an unstable region. The country of Israel was at war with Egypt and other Arab nations. The constant struggle over territorial control and religious and cultural differences made this region prone to violent conflict. Several wars have occurred in the region since Israel's establishment in 1948.

In an attempt at establishing peace, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat visited Israel. Sadat was the first Arab leader to do so. In another attempt at establishing peace, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin visited Egypt, but both attempts were unsuccessful.

Image of a portrait of President Jimmy Carter

Source: Jimmy Carter, The White House

In the United States, newly-elected President Jimmy Carter observed the events, noting that a war in the Middle East could spark further conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union in the ongoing Cold War. Representing the United States, and against the advice of many of his closest advisors, Carter reached out to both leaders and invited them to Camp David in Maryland.

Sadat and Carter at Camp David

Image of Sadat and Carter walking along a trail at Camp David, both are dressed in overcoats

Source: NLC04262, The Jimmy Carter Library

In September 1978, after several days of difficult talks, President Carter negotiated a peace treaty between the two parties, which was later called the Camp David Peace Accords. This agreement was extremely important in working toward peace in the Middle East.

To learn more about the Camp David Accords of 1978, click on the link below and answer the questions that follow in your notes.

Jimmy Carter

  1. Why was Camp David significant as a location to hold the peace talks?

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    Camp David is a secluded location, which allowed the leaders to be isolated from the outside world. Camp David has been used since the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt for leaders to meet and strategize in isolation.Close Pop Up

  2. What was the result of the first meeting?

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    According to President Carter, neither side was immediately willing to begin negotiations.Close Pop Up

  3. What methods did President Carter use to facilitate a better experience for both leaders during negotiations?

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    President Carter limited press coverage of the talks, allowed the leaders to engage in relaxing activities, and allowed the negotiation to work on an unrestricted timetable. Close Pop Up

The Signing of the Camp David Accords at the White House, September 17, 1978 (Seated from left to right: Sadat, Carter, Begin)

Image of Sadat, Carter, and Begin seated at a desk behind microphones

Source: NLC07344, The Jimmy Carter Library

On September 17, 1978, Sadat and Begin, along with Carter agreed upon a framework for peace in the Middle East and a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Click on the links below to see the full text of each.

Camp David Framework for Peace in the Middle East

Camp David Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel

Although peace was not achieved in the Middle East, the importance of Carter’s ability to draw the two opposing leaders together was a momentous step in the process of peace. President Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.

The United States as a World Power

Interactive exercise. Assistance may be required. After reading about the Camp David Peace Accords, determine which characteristics the United States displayed as a world power. Click on the correct characteristic(s) below.