Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat visited Jerusalem in November 1977 after thirty years of hostility with his Jewish neighbors. His visit was a response to an invitation of the newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. During this two-day visit, which included a speech before the Knesset, the Egyptian leader created a new psychological climate in the Middle East, which would open the door for a peace process between Israel and Egypt. Anwar al-Sadat recognized Israel’s right to exist and established the basis for direct negotiations between the two countries.
In September 1978, US President Jimmy Carter invited Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President al-Sadat to meet with him at Camp David, where they agreed on a framework for peace between Israel and Egypt and a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. It set out broad principles to guide negotiations between Israel and the Arab States. It also established guidelines for a West Bank-Gaza transitional regime of full autonomy for the Palestinians residing in these territories and for a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. The treaty between the two countries was finally signed on March 26, 1979, by Menachem Begin and Anwar al-Sadat, with President Carter signing as witness. Under this treaty, which would become known as the Camp David Accords, Israel returned the Sinai peninsula to Egypt, which became effective in April 1982, and Egypt recognized the existence of Israel as a free independent State; also the rights of the Palestians were recognized, but the fate of Jerusalem was excluded from the peace treaty.