Bound by a Frame of Reference, Part II: U.S. Policy and the Palestinians, 1948-88


Following Israel's creation in 1948, the Palestinians disappeared from United States policy considerations and did not reemerge until the late 1960s, when they forced themselves on the world's consciousness with a series of terrorist actions and a determined assertion of national aims. With the exception of the Carter administration, the history of the two decades of American policymaking that followed is one of a concerted effort to suppress the Palestinian question as a political issue and to undermine the Palestine Liberation Organization. This article, the second in a three part series, examines the frame of reference that molded policymaker thinking on Palestinian-Israeli issues-one centered on the Israeli perspective and basically ignorant of the Palestinian viewpoint- from the Eisenhower administration through the Reagan years.


Kathleen Christison, a former CIA political analyst, writes on Palestinian issues and U.S. Middle East policy. Her book, U.S. Policymaking on Palestine: The Impact of Popular Perceptions, will be published by University of California Press. Part I of this series appeared in JPS 104 (Summer 1997).