Since protests began in Egypt and especially since Mubarak was indirectly ousted from power the issue of the Camp David agreement has been on Israeli and American minds. There is a new poll released by Haaretz today that shows 54% of Egyptians would like a revoking of the 1979 Camp David agreement between Sadat and Begin. This is of no surprise since the deal was made without Egyptian popular support and maintained in a similar fashion.
The treaty was signed by Egypt for many reasons. The first and most important, I believe at least, is Sadat’s desire to fall under American auspices instead of Soviet. He made many moves to emphasize this message in the 70s as the Soviets had let him down economically and militarily. The second most important reason Sadat signed it was he knew that militarily he could never recover Sinai and that political negotiations were the only way. The reasons Israel signed it were first, the Israelis wanted to show that they were willing to give some territories back. The second reason ties with the first in the more practical reason of Israel wanted to solidify its control of the West Bank specifically and Gaza secondly. Israel knew if it could take Egypt, the biggest and strongest of the Arab states it would have no problem (even more so) facing a military threat from Syria and Jordan although this was a minimal risk at best. Begin was able to give Sinai back to its rightful owners because it had minimal national/religious significance, unlike the West Bank. Israel also knew if it could take the Egyptians out of the question a united Arab negotiating team would never amount and allow Israel to use its power to force concessions on the Arab states.
Everyday Egyptians have no seen the fruit of the peace treaty as of yet, 33 years later, and have obviously become more disillusioned. Egyptians were sold the idea because of economic cost benefits, meaning the US would be giving aid to Egypt, Israelis would be traveling to Egypt, spending money, and buying Egyptian products (oil and cotton specifically). This has not panned out what so ever. The US gives less aid now than it did 30 years ago and Israelis barely leave the Red Sea coast area for tourism. Israel has in addition not abided by principles of the terms regarding the West Bank and Gaza. The Egyptian government under Mubarak was more than complicit in the atrocities the Israelis committed in Gaza from 1981-today and the Egyptian people see this as counter to their desires. Egyptians are not known as great bearers of Arab Nationalism, or great supporters of Palestinian Nationalism but nor do they desire to see the situation continue, especially with their government’s aid. Although I do not see their wish ever coming to fruition I do agree that if nothing else, the treaty needs to be renegotiated, if not revoked altogether.