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January 4, 2018 4:11 pm

‘It’s the Peace Treaty That Helped and Is Still Holding,’ Says Lebanese Director Making Film on Israel-Egypt Camp David Accords

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

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Ziad Doueiri in an interview with BBC News. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

A Lebanese director is filming a project about the Camp David Accords, the 1978 agreements between Israel and Egypt that led to the signing of a peace treaty between the two countries the following year.

“I’ve always been fascinated by what happened behind closed doors, because what the politicians said to the public doesn’t necessarily mean what really happened,” award-winning filmmaker Ziad Doueiri told The Hollywood Reporter.

The Camp David Accords — brokered by US President Jimmy Carter — were signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in September 1978, after 12 days of negotiations at the mountaintop presidential retreat in northern Maryland.

“There was a lot of dramatic movement in those days,” Doueiri said. “You have Jimmy Carter, a very religious Christian guy, Sadat, a very pious Muslim, and Begin, very Jewish. You have these three opposing religions and they made it, and it’s the peace treaty that helped — it didn’t fall apart and it’s still holding.”

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This is not Doueiri’s first film about the Middle East. His 2012 feature “The Attack,” which grossed $1.7 million in the US, was about an Arab surgeon living in Tel Aviv whose wife was the main suspect in a suicide bombing. His most recent release, “The Insult,” tells the story of violence, courtroom confrontations and national attention involving a Lebanese man and a Palestinian refugee. The film is shortlisted for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2018 Academy Awards, the nominations for which will be announced on January 23.

Doueiri said he has been reading memoirs from those who were present at the Camp David talks to help him prepare for his project, which was still in the script stage. There were plenty of “cinematic experiences” and “human dramas” to work with, he told The Hollywood Reporter.

“It’s been written about from very different perspectives,” he explained. “There were a lot of people involved, but everyone has their own take on it, so I’m trying to study different points of view to examine what really happened behind closed doors.”

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