ADF marks forty years of peace on the Sinai Peninsula

The Australian Defence Force personnel stationed on the Sinai Peninsula have marked 40 years since the peace treaty was signed between Israel and Egypt on the Sinai Peninsula.

According to the Navy Daily, a military parade on 1 April celebrated the formation of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Made up of military and civilian personnel from 12 nations, including Australia, the MFO is the peacekeeping force that monitors the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel that was forged in 1979 between Israel’s then Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and Egypt’s Prime Minister Anwar Sadat. It was witnessed by United States President Jimmy Carter on 26 March 26 1979, in Washington, DC where the peace treaty was signed, following the 1978 Camp David Accords.

An historic treaty between two previously hostile countries, the 1979 treaty between Egypt and Israel has resulted in a “cold peace” since then, but one that has nevertheless survived for 40 years despite the political and social upheaval occurring in Egypt over the past 10 years.

The peace deal between Israel and Egypt, the first ever between Israel and any Arab state, and which cost Sadat his life at the hands of an Islamist extremist, has kept Cairo out of any armed conflict with its neighbour.

Israel captured Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in the 1967 Six-Day War of self-defence, but returned the region to Egypt as part of the treaty, with Egypt agreeing to leave the area demilitarized.

The agreement notably made Egypt the first Arab state to recognise Israel officially.

Speaking at the parade, MFO Director General, Ambassador Stephen Beecroft stated:

“Today, the peace endures and prospers because the leaders and peoples of Egypt and Israel have steadfastly chosen to pursue peace, and because governments and peoples around the world ably and unstintingly support them,” Ambassador Beecroft said, the Navy Daily reported.

He thanked the MFO on behalf of Egypt and Israel for its enlightened pursuit of peace.

Following the parade, members of the Egyptian and Israeli delegation planted an olive tree at the commemoration site at MFO Headquarters, according to the Navy Daily.

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