Essentials for a Lasting Peace in the Middle East

What Must be on the Table

No solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is possible unless we clearly define the obstacles that can and must be surmounted.

This conflict, which culminated in open warfare in 1948, is rooted in the incompatible claims of two distinct groups regarding the same territory and resources.  In 1947, the United Nations partitioned the western and southern parts of the Mandate of Palestine (“Cisjordan”), creating the state of Israel, which was intended for the resettlement of Jewish refugees from World War II.  The balance, encompassing the West Bank and Gaza, was to be a Palestinian homeland affiliated with Jordan.  At intervals since 1948, hostilities have included the participation of Arab League nations in open warfare.  At other intervals, cease-fires and peace negotiations have temporarily suspended the war.  The underlying state of emergency, however, has never ceased.

Repeated attempts by the United States to broker peace—Camp David I, the Oslo Accords, Camp David II, and President George W. Bush’s Road Map—have thus far proved futile.  Before the successful peace negotiations between Israel and Egypt and those between Israel and Jordan, it was not apparent that the Arab nations would accept a peace that recognized the legitimacy of the state of Israel; today, however, this is no longer the case, as was demonstrated by the Saudi peace initiative...

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