The Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979: A Balance of Peace and Power in the Middle East

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The Arab-Israeli conflict, initiated over one-hundred years ago and still continuing, has confounded both policy-makers and citizens; despite the best efforts of foreign leaders, only one substantial accord has materialized in the decades of negotiations: the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of 1979. Before one undertakes to understand such a complex topic as the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, however, a broad knowledge of the historical background of the two countries involved is essential to understanding the motivations and aspirations of both parties, which in turn will shed light on the peace treaty itself. Foreign policy can’t be viewed in a vacuum; rather, each country must be viewed as a nation with legitimate historical and political…show more content…
Meanwhile, Zionists had been organizing small but steady waves of immigration into Palestine as early as 1882. The new, Jewish settlements, dubbed the “new Yishuv”, grew in strength; though it initially faced serious financial setbacks, the new Yishuv had become a viable political community by the eve of World War I. Arab resentment toward the Zionists emerged due to economic and political concerns: the local Palestinian population were justifiably afraid that the Jewish population would monopolize trade or provide unwanted economic competition, while the Arab nationalists were anxious that Zionism not interfere with their own political aspirations. Egypt, in contrast to Palestine, was the leader of the Arab world. In the 1800s, Egypt, under the leadership of Muhammad Ali, began a campaign of “defensive modernization”; that is, an importation of military and economic principles of the West in an effort to rejuvenate the Arab world and its culture. The khedives (rulers) who succeeded Ali continued his campaign of modernization by constructing new facilities; the Suez Canal, an important position in trade between Europe and the Far East, was constructed in 1869. However, this modernization invited the imperialism that Egypt sought to avoid ; in 1883, Egypt became a “veiled protectorate” (an unofficial colonial dependency), and on the eve of World War I, a formal British protectorate was established until the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. During the War, Britain

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