If they are the children of Camp David, then we are the children of the Intifada

21 03 2009

Mona Eltahawy

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty this March 26th, the Middle East Institute in Washington DC published a special edition of Viewpoints magazine. Mona Eltahawy, a New York-based Egyptian journalist contributed quite an interesting article about the effects of this treaty on the generations that followed.

Mona is a very smart journalist. She’s won many awards and made quite a reputation for herself. In her article, she characterizes the Arab generation before the treaty as the generation of Naksa (or setback in Arabic). The generation that came after this 1979 treaty is the generation of Camp David; youth that lived through peace times, away from wars with Israel. Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat had hoped at the time that such treaty would mitigate the animosity between the people of the two countries, and maybe even the Arabs and the Israelis in general. The reality is, however, quite the opposite. As Mona observes, and many of us do, the animosity still exists, and quite strongly so.

If we are to characterize generations according to certain historical events, especially in a heated place like the Middle East, then I would say that my generation (in the late 1980s and early 1990s) is the generation of the Intifada and the failed Oslo Accords. The first uprising of 1989 has scarred many in the Middle East. The Oslo Accords principles (1993) have yet to be fully implemented by both the Palestinian and Israeli sides. In many ways, everything that followed Camp David were points of deterioration instead of improvement. Do we, then, still wonder why the generation of Camp David and the ones that followed are no different from the generation of the Naksa?

We have yet to see the fruits of the Second Intifada (2000), the Lebanon War (2006) and the Gaza War (2009) on future generations. My guess is that it won’t be much different on all sides.

 

*You can visit Mona Eltahawy’s website here

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