Menachem Begin: The Life and...
Charles River Editors
“What you have just heard about the Jewish people's inherent rights to the Land of Israel may seem academic to you, theoretical, even moot. But not to my generation. To my generation of Jews, these eternal bonds are indisputable and incontrovertible truths, as old as recorded time.” – Menachem Begin
The conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is over 70 years old and counting but has its roots in over 2,000 years of history. With so much time and history, the Middle East peace process has become laden with unique, politically sensitive concepts like the right of return, contiguous borders, secure borders, demilitarized zones, and security requirements, with players like the Quartet, Palestinian Authority, Fatah, Hamas, the Arab League and Israel. Over time, it has become exceedingly difficult for even sophisticated political pundits and followers to keep track of it all.
Israel has rarely reached agreements with its neighbors, and when it did so at the end of the 1970s, it was accomplished by a prime minister who was one of the nation’s most famous military officers. After the Yom Kippur War, President Jimmy Carter’s administration sought to establish a peace process that would settle the conflict in the Middle East, while also reducing Soviet influence in the region. On September 17, 1978, after secret negotiations at the presidential retreat Camp David, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed a peace treaty between the two nations, in which Israel ceded the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in exchange for a normalization of relations, making Egypt the first Arab adversary to officially recognize Israel. Carter also tried to create a peace process that would settle the rest of the conflict vis-à-vis the Israelis and Palestinians, but it never got off the ground. For the Camp David Accords, Begin and Sadat won the Nobel Peace Prize.