Eban, Abba
December 1978
Foreign Affairs;Winter78/79, Vol. 57 Issue 2, p343
This article discusses the views of the author on the significance of the Camp David peace treaty signed by Egypt and Israel to the security of the countries in 1978. While the Camp David document on a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel is reasonably specific and clear, the document relating to the West Bank and Gaza is deliberately equivocal. Both Begin and Sadat portray it as consistent with their previous positions. One of them has clearly got it wrong. My conviction is that the future of these territories and populations will be determined less by the fine print of the document than by the realities that lie beyond and behind the text. Equivocal language is often used in diplomacy to cover up disagreement on issues which must be included for some reason in a larger settlement, or which must be dealt with as if there was agreement. There is nothing inherently wrong in this practice, so long as the parties know what they have done and do not delude themselves with the hope that their joint signature creates a common policy. Hence, whether the absence of progress on the Palestine question would impair the fulfillment of an Egyptian-Israeli treaty is not so much a juridical question as an issue of political determination and regional atmosphere.


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