For the first time, a new Egyptian textbook describes the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, according to a report from Israel’s Army Radio. Details about the treaty, which includes a section about 1978 Camp David Accords, are part of “an overarching change in the contents of schoolbooks for all grades announced by the Egyptian Education Ministry two years ago,” reported The Times of Israel. The peace deal is described in a matter-of-fact way, without bias or any attempt to present Israel in a negative light.”
The authors of the Egyptian schoolbook, intended for the ninth grade, detail eight clauses from the agreement, which are reproduced in the book verbatim. These include phrases on Israel and Egypt “ending the state of war” and on “each side respecting the sovereignty and independence of the other side.”
The paragraphs [in the new textbook] describing the subsequent murder of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, who signed the treaty and made a historic speech at the Israeli Knesset, do not mention that he was murdered by activists who objected to the peace accord.
The authors note that Sadat and then-Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin won the Nobel Peace Prize for signing the treaty. “The reason they won was the great effort they invested in reaching peace in the Middle East,” the book says.
In 2011, Tablet contributor Armin Rosen, who is now an editor at Business Insider, wrote about the “myth” of the Camp David Accords, and the Yom Kippur War, as cultivated by the Egyptian government:
Ever since Anwar El Sadat signed the Camp David Accords in 1978, the Egyptian government has combated any sense of national inferiority by propagating an amazingly resilient myth: Egypt won the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and the Camp David Treaty represented Israel’s capitulation to a morally and militarily superior enemy. It’s a myth that helped Egypt recuperate some of its national self-esteem in light of its recognition of the Jewish State and subsequent expulsion from the Arab League.
In the new textbook, the Times of Israel reports that “Hosni Mubarak’s role in the Yom Kippur War, in which he served as commander of the Egyptian air force, was marginalized when compared to its portrayal during his tenure as the country’s president.”
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.