Joint Letter from President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin to President Carter
Concerning Negotiations on Self-Governing Authority
in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
March 26, 1979
The White House
Dear Mr. President,
This letter confirms that Israel and Egypt have agreed as follows:
The Governments of Israel and Egypt recall that they concluded at Camp David and signed at the White House on September 17, 1978, the annexed documents entitled "A Framework for Peace in the Middle East agreed at Camp David" and "Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt."
For the purpose of achieving a comprehensive peace settlement in accordance with the above-mentioned Frameworks, Israel and Egypt will proceed with the implementation of those provisions relating to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They have agreed to start negotiations within a month after the exchange of the instruments of ratification of the Peace Treaty. In accordance with the "Framework for Peace in the Middle East," the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is invited to join the negotiations. The Delegations of Egypt and Jordan may include Palestinians as mutually agreed. The purpose of the negotiations shall be to agree, prior to the elections, on the modalities for establishing the elected self-governing authority (administrative council), define its powers and responsibilities and agree upon other related issues. In the event Jordan decides not to take part in the negotiations, the negotiations will be held by Israel and Egypt.
The two Governments agree to negotiate continuously and in good faith to conclude these negotiations at the earliest possible date. They also agree that the objective of the negotiations is the establishment of the self-governing authority in the West Bank and Gaza in order to provide full autonomy to the inhabitants.
Israel and Egypt set for themselves the goal of completing the negotiations within one year so that elections will be held as expeditiously as possible after agreement has been reached between the parties. The self-governing authority referred to in the "Framework for Peace in the Middle East" will be established and inaugurated within one month after it has been elected, at which time the transitional period of five years will begin. The Israel military government and its civilian administration will be withdrawn, to be replaced by the self-governing authority, as specified in the "Framework for Peace in the Middle East." A withdrawal of Israeli armed forces will then take place and there will be a redeployment of the remaining Israeli forces into specified security locations.
This letter also confirms our understanding that the United States Government will participate fully in all stages of negotiations.
For the Government
For the Government of the
Arab Republic of Egypt
Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat
President Carter, upon receipt of the Joint Letter to him from President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin, had added to the American and Israeli copies the notation: “I have been informed that the expression ‘West Bank’ is understood by the Government of Israel to mean ‘Judea and Samaria’.” This notation is in accordance with similar procedures established at Camp David.
Source: International Documents on Palestine 1979. Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1981, pp. 115-116.