When Carter and Vance met with leaders of Arab countries and Israel in the spring of 1977, negotiations for a return to Geneva seemed to be gaining momentum. On May 17, 1977, an Israeli election left the Carter government perplexed when Israel`s moderate Labor Party lost for the first time in Israel`s history. Menachem Bégin, the leader of the conservative Likud party and Israel`s new prime minister, seemed intractable on the issue of land for peace. His party`s commitment to “Großisrael” left Carter in an even more difficult situation in the summer of 1977. The Camp David Agreement, signed in September 1978 by President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, established a framework for a historic peace treaty concluded in March 1979 between Israel and Egypt. President Carter and the U.S. government have played a leading role in creating the possibility of this deal happening. Since the beginning of his term, Carter and his Foreign Minister Cyrus Vance have negotiated intensively with Arab and Israeli leaders in the hope of reconvening the Geneva Conference, which was created in December 1973 to end the Arab-Israeli dispute. While the conclusion of the Camp David Agreement was a considerable step forward, the process of translating the framework documents into a formal peace treaty proved daunting. As at the summit, Carter`s hopes of rapid progress were high and the president hoped that a text of the treaty would be finalized in a few days. However, the controversy that developed between the Carter government and the Bégin government over the duration of an agreed freeze on Israeli settlement construction was quickly followed by the government`s inability to secure support from Jordan or Saudi Arabia for the deals.
Beginning in October, a series of talks in Washington were halted due to Israeli concerns about the date of their withdrawal and Egyptian reservations about the impact of a peace treaty on its obligations to other Arab states. Other regional developments, including the Iranian revolution, distracted U.S. policymakers and expressed Israeli concerns about its oil supply, leading to a stalemate during the winter of 1978-1979. After Bégin`s visit to the White House failed to break the deadlock in early March, Carter traveled to Israel on March 10. . . .