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May 1, 2019 1:12 pm

Four Decades Later, Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty Celebrated as ‘Courageous Diplomatic Achievement’

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Egyptian Ambassador to the US Yasser Reda pose for a picture at the State Department headquarters in Washington, DC, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Photo: Pompeo’s Twitter account.

A ceremony was held at the US State Department headquarters in Washington, DC, on Tuesday to mark the recent 40th anniversary of the historic signing of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty.

The event — hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — was attended by the ambassadors of Israel and Egypt to the US, Ron Dermer and Yasser Reda.

Pompeo, a State Department statement said, praised Israel and Egypt for the “courageous diplomatic achievement, which took will and sacrifice,” and acknowledged the two countries’ “strong commitment to an enduring peace.”

In a tweet later on Tuesday, the secretary of state called the treaty — the first peace agreement reached between Israel and an Arab country — a “shining example of the possibilities that can result from dialogue, compromise, and cooperation.”

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The treaty — the result of a year and a half of negotiations brokered by then-US President Jimmy Carter — was inked at a White House by then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat on March 26, 1979.

Under the terms of the deal, Israel ceded to Egypt the Sinai Peninsula — which the Jewish state had taken control of during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Over the past four decades, the relationship between the two countries has been strained at times, particularly when there have been outbursts of violence in the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but ties have warmed since Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took power in Cairo in 2013.

Israel and Egypt share a number of regional interests — including the containment of Iran and combating ISIS.

However, normalization of the relationship with Israel remains a sensitive topic for much of the Egyptian public.

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