Case Study: Camp David Accords Camp Davids

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[. . .] Prime Minister Begin achieved both of his main goals; he wanted to secure a peace treaty and demilitarize Sinai Peninsula without compromising on the Palestinian issue.

On the other side, President Sadat was successful in getting Israeli withdrawal from Sinai and few other concessions but unfortunately he failed in establishing the Palestinian self-determination which was actually very important for gaining Arab support. Sadat wanted to solve this issue so that he could regain his position in the Arab but it didn't happen. In the final document both parties agreed on calling for the creation of an administrative council in the West Bank Gaza. However, no time period was mentioned for the development of this authority; this way Israelis got the chance to block this issue from moving forward. Camp David failed to solve the issue of Palestinians and secure their future, which was one of the main agenda of this convention.


As stated above, the bargaining process at Camp David went in favor of Israel and President Sadat was not able to achieve his major goal regarding Palestinian self-determination. An important reason behind this is also the personality and the political position of President Sadat, which greatly affected his success at Camp David. For instance, he did not had vast negotiating experience, second; he very much trusted his friend President Carter and relied heavily on his personal friend by giving Americans important information on the bargaining position[footnoteRef:6]. He actually showed all his cards to Carter and all of the above, allowed him to play them. Although Carter was his friend but at the end he had his own interest linked with getting this agreement done; therefore he could not take side of one party. [6: Telhami, Shibley. "The Camp David Accords." Pew Case Studies in International Affairs. Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, 1992.]

Keeping in mind the U.S. interests, Carter did not do what Sadat expected him to do and the consequence was that Sadat's position in Arab was not maintained[footnoteRef:7] . The political system of Egypt condensed Sadat's influence and role in negotiations due to his bargaining mistakes. Sadat's foolishness of trusting Carter had a bad impact on his strong position in the Egyptian government and also a very harmful impact on his ability to negotiate the favourable and best outcome for his country. [7: Telhami, Shibley. "Evaluating Bargaining Performance: The Case of Camp David." Political Science Quarterly. vol 107, no 4. 1992-93. 629-53.]


This case was actually two level game because diplomatic negotiations are never independent. Although they have international focus but the domestic views are also taken in to account when making decisions. These interactions between the domestic and international pressures are referred as two level games by many political experts.

In this case, Sadat played a strategy of two level games; he created international pressure for Prime Minister Begin in his domestic field and his win set was altered. After deciding that he wanted to take the peace process ahead, President Sadat planned to motivate Israeli side as well, which he did by planning a dramatic trip to Jerusalem. This move of Sadat was very noticeable and effective because it cannot be reversed.

After this move of recognizing Israel in this way Sadat could not take a step back. Looking at this situation, many Israelis appreciated this development and started putting great pressure on Begin through different means. In this way Begin got more room and support for moving forward towards the peace process and signed the peace agreement. Sadat's trick which he tried to play on international level actually helped Begin in his domestic politics and expanded his win set.

An important lesson of diplomacy can be learnt from the two level game played at Camp David. Negotiating parties must know that will for sure domestic restrictions. One party can change the constraints of other party as an opportunity of them and in result their win set expands, as happened in this case after Sadat's visit to Jerusalem.


The Camp David Accords was actually not the end of the story. There was much more diplomacy involved and in the end this agreement was culminated on 26th March 1979; however the debate regarding this treaty is still active due to its historical impact.

Some analysts consider Israel as the winner as it was successful in getting security from its most powerful enemy by giving a very little in return. They also claim that this made Israel more powerful and due to shift of power it attacked Lebanon in 1982. Egypt on the other side lose the game; although it gained control of Sinai back from Israel but at the same time it gave an impression to the Arab world that it have a closer relationship with United States. Contrary to above views, some believes that Egypt got victory because it received its territory back, which is something, tangible, in exchange of an intangible promise of peace.

This debate goes on and this case has been analyzed through different perspectives. It is one of the important case studies in the history of international diplomacy and a useful tool to study and understand the international bargaining process.


Caplan, Neil and Eisenberg, Laura. 1998. Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, p.39.

Hopman, Terrence. 2001. Bargaining and Problem-Solving: Two Perspectives on International Negotiation. Washington. Turbulent Peace: The Challenges of Managing International Conflict. p. 457

Stein, Janis Gross. 1993. "The Political Economy of Security Agreements." Double-Edged Diplomacy. Ed. Peter B. Evans, Harold K. Jacobson, and Robert D. Putnam. Berkeley: California UP. pp.77-103.

Telhami, Shibley. 1992. "The Camp David Accords." Pew Case Studies in International Affairs. Washington, DC:

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