Camp David Accords: How Carter brought peace to Egypt, Israel

U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin celebrate the signing of the Camp David Accords in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., September 17, 1978. Photo courtesy of Jimmy Carter Library/National Archives/Handout via REUTERS.

As former President Jimmy Carter enters the twilight of his life — he’s 98 and now in hospice care — Press Play is reflecting on the legacy and achievements of the 39th president. 

The 1978 Camp David Accords may be the biggest accomplishment of his presidency. Carter brokered the political agreements that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed in September 1978, after days of clandestine negotiations at Camp David. The Accords led to those two countries to establish a peace treaty.

Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of “The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter,” says he was the most intelligent, decent, and hardworking president of the 20th century. 

“He understood that once he achieved power, he had to use it righteously. And he, of course, had a lifetime reading the Bible, and he thought of it as the holy land, and he really wanted to settle this conflict. And he managed to pound out a treaty and bring peace to Egypt and Israel. And the treaty has more or less held. It's a cold peace, but it is peace. And he gave Israel a great gift. He took Egypt off the battlefield. That's been the case from the last 40 years.”



  • Kai Bird - co-author “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer”