Israel's neighbor to the west and the southwest with which it fought in the War of Independence (1948—49), the Sinai War (1956), the Six-Day War (1967), the War of Attrition (1969-70), and the Yom Kippur War (1973). During the War of Independence, Egyptian forces succeeded in retaining a portion of the territory that was to have been a part of the Arab state in Palestine and known since as the Gaza Strip. Egypt held the territory under military control until 1967, except for a brief period in 1956-57, when Israel held it during and immediately after the Sinai War. Following the Egyptian revolution and the accession of Gamal Abdul Nasser to power in the 1950s, the stage was set for a second round of warfare. Cross-border fedayeen raids from Gaza into Israel and a substantial increase in the armaments of the Egyptian army (via the Czechoslovakian-Egyptian arms deal of 1955), as well as the increased activism of the Nasser regime, helped to provide the context for the Sinai War.
   The conclusion of that conflict was followed by a decade of relative calm along the Egypt-Israel frontier that was broken by the Six-Day War, in which Israel took the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. The War of Attrition initiated by Nasser in the spring of 1969 was terminated by a cease-fire in the summer of 1970. The Egyptian-and Syrian-initiated Yom Kippur War was followed by movement in the direction of a settlement. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger from the United States helped to arrange an Israel-Egypt disengagement agreement, which was signed in January 1974, and the Sinai II Accords of September 1975. Following the 1977 initiative of President Anwar Sadat, Israel and Egypt began negotiations for peace, which led to the Camp David Accords in September 1978 and the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty of March 1979.
   Peace and the normalization of relations followed—ambassadors were exchanged, trade and tourism developed, and continued contacts were sustained between the two states. Nevertheless, the relationship between the two countries could best be characterized by the concept of a "cold peace," in which formal ties exist and some intercourse occurs, but their links could not be characterized as friendly or warm in nature. There are continuing differences between Cairo and Jerusalem over relations with the Palestinians as well as over Egypt's concerns about Israel's status on the broader Middle Eastern geopolitical, economic, and strategic landscape. An area of concern from Israel's perspective relates to Egypt's fulfillment of its responsibility to maintain security along the Gaza-Sinai border, including stopping the smuggling of weapons through underground tunnels, following Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip in August-September 2005.
   See also Arab-Israeli Conflict; Arab League (League of Arab States); Foreign Policy; Taba.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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