Egypt-Israel Peace

Published: 1979
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Pres. Carter signs the peace treaty as " a Witness" after is has been signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem begin March 26, 1979 in a ceremony on the White house lawn. (UPI Photo/Files)

Jim Lounsbury: One treaty was not in doubt in 1979; an historic peace treaty was signed, and it opened the way for former enemies, Egypt and Israel, to begin carefully measured progress in dismantling barriers built by war. Dennis Galeno fills in the details.

Dennis Galeno: "Egypt and Israel have been slowly, but steadily carrying out the provisions of their peace treaty signed early in 1979. While not as dramatic as the progress many in Washington had hoped for, everyone realized it was better than no progress at all and much more promising than the situation that existed before that sunny day last March.

"Correspondents Marilee Cox and Roger Giddens were there at the White House as Middle East history was made in Washington."

Marilee Cox: "March 26th, 1979 will be remembered as the day Israel and Egypt signed a treaty of peace and, as Correspondent Roger Giddens reports, it was an event to be remembered."

Roger Giddens: "The ceremony had the zest of a springtime lawn party and the gravity of diplomatic history. Sixteen hundred invited guests watched as Prime Minister Begin and Egyptian President Sadat signed the treaty. Mr. Carter sat between them, smiling and waiting his turn. When it came, he leaned over the polished walnut desk and quickly scrawled his signature at the bottom of the pact's first page. Thus, with a few strokes with the pen, a 30-year war between Egypt and Israel came to an official end. But the President had emphasized in the remarks that followed it was only a beginning."

President Jimmy Carter: "We must now demonstrate the advantages of peace and expand its benefits to encompass all those who have suffered so much in the Middle East."

Roger Giddens: "Sadat made the same point, but only generally and without a reference to the Palestinian problem that was part of his advance text."

President Anwar Sadat: "We are all committed to pursue our efforts until the fruits of this comprehensive settlement we agreed upon are shared by all parties to the conflict."

Roger Giddens: "And Begin said it was time to show courage to make this proclamation."

Prime Minister Menachem Begin: "No more war, no more bloodshed, no more bereavement. Peace unto you, shalom! Salaam forever!"

Roger Giddens: "President Carter summed up the feelings this way: 'We have no illusions; hopes, dreams, prayers, yes, but no illusions.' Roger Giddens at the White House."

Marilee Cox: "Hundreds of spectators stood across the street from the White House cheering an event they couldn't really see, but relishing the moment nonetheless. The ceremony was beamed live to an audience overseas and, as Howard Aronstein reports, they were cheering in Israel, too"

Howard Aronstein: "50,000 Israelis cheered in the square in front of the Tel Aviv municipality when President Carter, Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President Anwar Sadat finished the round of signatures on the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty. They were watching the ceremony on a giant screen beneath the words peace, shalom and salaam in English, Hebrew and Arabic."

Marilee Cox: "For a report on the reaction in Egypt, here's Maurice Gindi"

Maurice Gindi: "The bells of Coptic churches in Cairo pealed joyously for five minutes when the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty was signed in Washington. In Cairo, 1,000 mosques' minarets were brightly lit in celebration, but no special prayers were offered."

Marilee Cox: "After many years of hostility and many months of negotiations, a treaty of peace between and Israel and Egypt is signed."

Dennis Galeno: "Thank you, Marilee. As the year ended, Egypt had reclaimed the Sinai peacefully under the treaty provisions, and negotiations continued on autonomy for the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This is Dennis Galeno reporting."