February 25, 2024

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Egypt threatens to nullify the peace treaty it concluded with Israel decades ago.  What does it mean?

Egypt threatens to nullify the peace treaty it concluded with Israel decades ago. What does it mean?

JERUSALEM (AP) — It was a warm handshake between unlikely statesmen, conducted under everyone's gaze. President Jimmy Carter. Sunlight streamed through the trees at Camp David, Maryland, where Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the Israeli Prime Minister were Menachem Begin It consolidated the historic agreement that allowed for more than 40 years of peace between Israel and Egypt. It has served as an important source of stability in a turbulent region.

This peace has endured through two Palestinian uprisings and a series of Israel-Israel wars agitation. But now with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu He pledged to send Israeli forces to RafahIt is a city in the Gaza Strip on the border with Egypt, and the Egyptian government threatens to nullify the agreement.

Here's a look at the history of the treaty and what would happen if it were invalidated.

How did the treaty originate?

It was 1977, and Begin, Israel's new prime minister, was opposed to ceding any of the territory Israel had captured a decade earlier in the 1967 Middle East War. Those territories included Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

Egypt and Israel have fought four major wars, the last of which was in 1973. So the world was shocked when Egypt's Sadat broke with other Arab leaders and decided to deal with the Israelis.

The talks culminated in the Camp David Accords in September 1978 and the peace treaty the following year.

Under the peace treaty, Israel agreed to withdraw from Sinai, which Egypt would leave demilitarized. Israeli ships were allowed to pass through the Suez Canal, a major trade route. The two countries established full diplomatic relations in the first peace agreement concluded by Israel with an Arab country.

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“The Camp David Accords were led by three brave men who took a bold stand because they knew the lasting implications for peace and security, then and in the future. We need the same kind of leadership today, and that is what we are currently missing,” said Paige Alexander, CEO of the Carter Center. “.

What is Egypt's current position?

Two Egyptian officials and a Western diplomat told The Associated Press on Sunday that Egypt might suspend the peace treaty if Israeli forces invade Rafah.

Netanyahu says that Rafah is the last remaining stronghold of Hamas after more than four months of war, and that sending ground forces is necessary to defeat the movement.

But Egypt opposes any move that would send Palestinians desperate Flee across the border On its territory. The Rafah crossing is also the main entry point for humanitarian aid into the besieged area, and any Israeli attack could choke off the delivery of key supplies.

Rafah's population has swelled from 280,000 to an estimated 1.4 million as Palestinians fled fighting elsewhere in Gaza. Hundreds of thousands of evacuees live in sprawling camps.

Netanyahu ordered the army to prepare a plan to evacuate all Palestinian civilians before the attack began. But it is unclear where they will go.

Netanyahu said on Sunday that they would be able to return to open spaces in the far north. But those areas were severely damaged by the Israeli attack.

What happens if the treaty is invalidated?

The treaty significantly limits the number of troops on both sides of the border. This allowed Israel to focus its army on other threats.

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In addition to the war in Gaza, Israel is engaged in almost daily skirmishes with the Hezbollah armed group in Lebanon, while its security forces are deployed heavily in the occupied West Bank.

If Egypt cancels the agreement, it could mean that Israel can no longer rely on its southern border as an oasis of calm. There is no doubt that the reinforcement of forces along its border with Egypt will pose a challenge to the already deployed Israeli army.

But this will have serious repercussions for Egypt as well. Egypt has received billions of dollars in US military aid from the United States since the peace agreement.

If the agreement is voided, it could jeopardize financing. A massive military buildup would strain Egypt's already faltering economy.

Alexander said that any step that could drag Egypt into hostilities “would be disastrous for the entire region.”

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Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war