Menachem Begin

Begin and Carter: "The Treaty of Peace we have signed with Egypt"


Begin and Carter: "The Treaty of Peace we have signed with Egypt"

 

1p TLS signed by Menachem Begin (1913-1992), then 6th Prime Minister of Israel, as "M. Begin" above his typed signature "Menachem Begin." Written in Jerusalem, Israel on April 19, 1979. On cream paper with bilingual Hebrew and English "The Prime Minister" letterhead. Featuring an embossed Emblem of Israel (a menorah flanked by two olive branches) at top. Expected paper folds, else in near fine condition, 8.625" x 11". Accompanied by a postmarked Prime Minister's Bureau, Jerusalem Air Mail envelope with torn front.

 

Also comes with a 1p typed letter on "The White House, Washington" letterhead dated April 4, 1979 and signed "Jimmy Carter." Carter's signature may be secretarial, but the value of the lot lies in the Begin signature. Accompanied by a matching postmarked White House envelope bearing a 15 cent "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave" stamp, and a circa 1977 envelope mailed from Jerusalem. Expected wear including isolated toning.

 

This correspondence was addressed to Dennis D. Baum of Jackson, Mississippi, who had apparently written letters of congratulation to President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin following the signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty several weeks earlier, on March 26, 1979.

 

Prime Minister Begin wrote:

 

"[typed] Dear Friend,

 

It is with heartfelt gratitude that I acknowledge, on behalf of the people and Government of Israel, your warm message of greeting and congratulation.

 

The Treaty of Peace we have signed with Egypt could never have been realized were it not for the proud, ceaseless and steadfast solidarity of the Jewish people in support of Israel's just, historic cause.

 

In this lies our strength. Let us, therefore, continue to stand together - always together - so that, with God's help we shall succeed in widening the process of peace for the sake of this and all future Jewish generations.

 

From Jerusalem, our eternal capital, I send you my personal greetings.

 

Sincerely,

 

[signed] M. Begin

 

[typed] Menachem Begin."

 

As early as 1977, Begin had met with 3rd Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (1918-1981) to discuss practical ways of brokering peace between the two historically hostile nations. 39th U.S. President Jimmy Carter (born 1924) hosted and mediated clandestine peace talks at Camp David in September 1978. Begin and Sadat met publicly in Washington, D.C. roughly six months later to sign the March 26, 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, for which the two won the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

Israel and Egypt, as well as Israel and many other Arab-majority neighbors in the Middle East, had a poor foreign relations track record. Since the formation of the state of Israel in 1949, conflicts in the Middle East had erupted over competition of resources, access to markets, and identity politics. The two most recent clashes between Israel and Egypt preceding the 1979 peace talks had been the 1956 Suez Crisis and the 1967 Six Day War. The 1979 Peace Treaty resulted in a demilitarization of the Sinai Peninsula, the region buffering the two neighbors. Significantly, Egypt was the first Arab state to recognize Israeli sovereignty by co-signing this treaty.

 

While the 1979 Peace Treaty was lauded for its ambitious agenda, it also had unintended consequences that ironically served to destabilize the Middle East. President Sadat was assassinated two years after signing the peace treaty by extremist Muslim terrorists. Some parties felt overlooked by the treaty, notably Palestine, whose representatives had not even been invited to participate. Meanwhile, power dynamics and leadership vacuums in the wider Middle East would result in the rise of dictators like Saddam Hussein in the following decades.

 


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Item: 65134

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