Palestinians and Israelis: Options for Coexistence

VOL. 22


No. 2
P. 5
Palestinians and Israelis: Options for Coexistence


In the current efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a practical challenge facing the peace negotiators is how the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as a political community, can pursue their right to self-determination and in what context. That is, what kind of political entity would satisfy their desire for self-determination and under what conditions? The ideal, of course, would be to be able to propose one or more solutions under traditional international law, such as an in- dependent state with full, unhindered sovereignty. But Israel would reject such proposals and refuse to participate in talks with sovereign statehood as a prior objective. The aim of this paper, then, is to explore various options for a Palestinian entity that have been proposed in recent years and that have some chance of acceptance, as part of a final settlement, by the Palestinians-those inside and the PLO-and by Israel and Jordan. These options include: an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; a federation with Jordan; a confederation with Jordan; a unitary state in Israel and the occupied territories based on the canton system. In addition, a brief discussion will address the recent proposals for an interim arrangement to precede a final settlement.

In assessing the options, their feasibility, and their acceptability to the parties involved, focus will be on such aspects as economic viability, foreign relations and security issues, the prospects for internal stability, the political system, and the status of Jerusalem.

An Independent State in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

The PLO's declaration of independence of 15 November 1988 stated that the organization, as well as a majority of Palestinians in the occupied territories, supported the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip alongside Israel. This is the heart of what is known as the two-state solution. On the eve of the Gulf crisis, many observers believed that an independent Palestinian state was the only viable solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The "inevitability" of a Palestinian state was presented in a study prepared for the U.S. Department of Defense by Graham E. Fuller, a Rand Corporation consultant and former CIA analyst. Unquestionably, the Palestinian state appears far less "inevitable" today as a result of the Gulf war.

For a Palestinian state to come into being, it would have to be supported by Israel and the United States. However, no state would be acceptable to either, if at all, unless certain constraints are placed on its state sovereignty. One might note that many of these constraints have already been accepted, at least tacitly, by Palestinian leaders in the occupied territories. The constraints include the following:

The state would sign a collective security pact with its two most immediate neighbors, Israel and Jordan.

The state would sign an economic and trade agreement with Israel and Jordan and would commit itself in advance to work for regional economic integration and political stability.

The state would be demilitarized for at least ten years; that is, it would be prohibited from establishing a military force that in any way could be used for offensive purposes. This ban would be subject to on-site inspection and verification by an Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian committee which would be kept informed of all purchases, acquisitions, transfers, or production of arms and military equipment by the State of Palestine. In return for demilitarization, the state's neutrality would be guaranteed by a treaty, the signatories to which would include, among others, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and the permanent members of the UN Security Council. The treaty would also be deposited with the United Nations.

The state would enter into immediate talks with Israel regarding the settlement of the refugee problem and Palestinian claims to the areas of Pales- tine that are part of pre-1967 Israel. Such negotiations would also address the presence of Jewish settlers in the territories and Jewish immigrants from Arab countries.

The state would sign an official declaration identifying the West Bank and Gaza Strip as constituting the entire territory of the Palestinian state. Claims to other parts of Palestine would be renounced unequivocally.

The state would refrain from entering into any aggressive regional or international alliance or any other bilateral or multilateral arrangements that might threaten or undermine the security of the region or individual states within the region. Furthermore, the state would refrain from any war-like activities against its neighbors, or from engaging in any hostile propaganda.

The state would agree to participate, during the first five years of its existence, with Israel and Jordan in setting up security observation posts (electronic and human) for the purpose of obtaining data about potential terrorist activities across state boundaries.

The security of the state would be protected by a police force whose other responsibilities would include law enforcement, crime prevention, and domestic order. The police force would be trained in a national police academy according to an internationally recognized curriculum in safety, law enforcement, and crime prevention. This force would also receive training in emergency management.

The state would commit itself in advance to free elections and to a participatory system of government.

These constraints clearly indicate that a state in the occupied territories, though independent, would not enjoy sovereignty as defined under traditional international law. At best, sovereignty would be shared directly by the state's two most immediate neighbors and indirectly by other regional and international actors. On the positive side, however, one could say that these constraints would also serve the interest of the Palestinians themselves by allowing the fledgling state to direct its energies and resources to building a prosperous community. The state's neutrality would be guaranteed by the international community. Such a state would have to prove over a period of time, perhaps up to ten years, that it is a responsible regional actor, that it can maintain law and order internally, and that it is committed to the rule of law and to the pacific settlement of disputes. Even with these constraints, Palestinian leaders should not expect the Israeli government to acquiesce in the creation of a Palestinian state for several years, even though the Labor-led government under Yitzhak Rabin is more likely to discuss such an entity in the context of a comprehensive structure guaranteeing Israeli security.

Available information indicates that a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip could be economically viable. However, economic viability is predicated on certain prerequisites.

Receiving economic foreign aid for at least five years in the amount of two to three billion dollars annually.

Developing economic projects in conjunction with Israel and Jordan, especially in the Gaza Strip, focusing on shipping, desalination, and agriculture, and in the Dead Sea area, focusing on extracting and processing mineral resources.

Establishing and maintaining working political relations with Israel and Jordan.

Providing a hospitable economic environment (e.g., investment laws, tax regulations, monetary policies, fiscal practices) for local and foreign capital investments in the state.

Concluding revenue-sharing agreements with Israel and Jordan, and perhaps Egypt, in the area of tourism. Such agreements could be extremely lucrative, especially if region-wide package deals are provided whereby tourists could visit the religious sites in the Holy Land and the historical places in Jordan and Egypt.

Foreign policy and security relations of a Palestinian entity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be governed by the treaty establishing such an entity. Since the entity would be prevented from having a military force, the focus of its international relations would be to preserve its neutrality, protect its security, and serve its economic interests. These conditions would also have a positive impact on the continued survival of the state, not least by allowing it to concentrate on economic development.

In light of Palestinian political experience and the pronouncements of Palestinian leaders in recent years, a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be a republic based on free national elections grounded in universal suffrage; basic individual rights and freedoms are guaranteed. The government would be divided into three branches on the basis of checks and balances in the context of a separation of powers. In addition to national elections for the executive and legislative branches of government, local elections would also be held for municipal government.

The status of Jerusalem, as in all options, will likely be a thorny issue. Though on the surface irreconcilable-the Palestinians have repeatedly stated that Jerusalem would be their capital, and Israel has been equally insistent that Jerusalem would never be divided-the Palestinian and Israeli positions on Jerusalem are not unbridgeable. Some Palestinians have agreed that even as a united city, Jerusalem-or a part thereof-could act as capital of the Palestinian entity. Such an arrangement could involve a two-tier mu- nicipal government: a city-wide Jewish-Arab council for the whole of Jerusalem and two local councils, one with a Jewish majority for West Jerusalem, and another with an Arab majority for East Jerusalem. An understanding would have to be reached regarding the city's corporate limits, which were dramatically expanded by Israel after the 1967 war.

The proposed status of Jerusalem under this option would be acceptable to the Palestinians and to a majority of the Arab states, especially if freedom of worship at the holy places in the Old City is guaranteed. However, the Israeli government will most likely reject any regime which would diminish or dilute Israeli "sovereignty" over the whole city of Jerusalem.

A Federation with Jordan

A federation is an arrangement between two or more political entities which agree to surrender a portion of their sovereignty for their mutual benefit or indeed survival. In a federal arrangement, where the national government is stronger than the member states, only one national sovereignty exists.

Several proposals have been made over the years regarding a Palestinian- Jordanian federation. One of the early suggestions, offered by Jordan's King Hussein on 15 March 1972, called for the establishment of a United Arab Kingdom. Under the plan, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan would become the "United Arab Kingdom" comprising two regions, the West Bank and the East Bank. Amman would be the federal capital of the kingdom as well as the capital of the Jordan region. Jerusalem would be the capital of the Palestine region. The head of the state would be the king, who would assume central executive authority with the help of a federal cabinet.

King Hussein's proposed federation of 1972 was rejected by Israel, the PLO, a majority of the Palestinians in the occupied territories, and many Arab states. At best, the plan suffered from bad timing, and became a dead issue with the diminishing influence of the Jordanian monarchy and the rising prominence of the PLO in the territories prior to the intifada.

Several variations on Palestinian-Jordanian federation have been implied in offers over the years by Israeli spokesmen. For example, a federal solution is implicit in the Israeli Labor party's "Allon Plan," the most detailed version of which was outlined in 1976. Under the plan, Israel would give up large portions of the occupied territories which would be returned to Jordan. Jordan, for its part, would concede its claim to a few strategic security zones along the Palestinian side of the Jordan River.

A federal solution was also implicit in U.S. President Ronald Reagan's peace initiative of 1 September 1982, which called for self-government by the Palestinians of the occupied territories "in association with Jordan" as the best chance for a durable, just, and lasting peace.

On 31 July 1988, during the first year of the intifada, King Hussein formally disengaged from the occupied territories and turned full responsibility for them over to the PLO, which he recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. But this is not the final word on Jordan's ultimate role in the peace process. Indeed, Jordan has emerged as a major player in Israeli-Palestinian talks, reviving the possibility of a Jordanian-Palestinian federation. It is possible to argue that a Jordanian-Palestinian federation is more probable at this juncture now that the king has come to recognize Palestinian national identity and to view the Palestinian leadership on an equal footing. However, a federation between two political entities can only succeed if they join forces on a basis of political symmetry, rather than the subservience of one to the other.

Such a federation would consist of a Palestinian region and a Jordanian region, each of which would be free to select its own political system and administrative structure, including a regional capital. The Palestinians would most likely opt for Jerusalem (which Israel would likely reject). Amman would be the capital of the Jordanian region and probably of the federation.

Assuming the political environment is ripe for such a step, resolving the political character of the federation would be a troublesome issue. While both regions might agree on a unified foreign and security policy, they would disagree on the structure of the federal political system and on its leadership: the Palestinians are not likely to accept a monarchical regime, and the Jordanian monarchy will not likely surrender its power.

A Palestinian-Jordanian federation could be expected to be economically viable; however, significant economic foreign aid would be necessary for the first five years (approximately two to three billion dollars annually). The bulk of this aid would go for capital investment in the West Bank and Gaza and in the Dead Sea area. A Palestinian-Jordanian state could also be expected to become heavily involved in trade and to offer its ports as transit areas for commerce with neighboring states. The state could also develop a viable entrepreneurial economy that would attract regional and multinational corporations and capital.

To be economically viable, however, a Palestinian-Jordanian state would have to take several political steps regarding its neighbors, with which it would have to establish peaceful, friendly relations. It would have to:

Sign nonaggression pacts with its neighbors and refrain from any hostile activities against them.

Conclude comprehensive trade, commercial, and banking treaties with its neighbors for the free flow of commerce, capital, and trade across state boundaries.

Seek regional economic projects with neighboring states which would entice these states to work together for mutual economic interests.

A healthy economy of a Palestinian-Jordanian federation and friendly relations with its neighbors should contribute to its survival and minimize the potential threats to such survival. In such an environment, the federation would not be a threat to its neighbors, nor would it be threatened by them.

The status of Jerusalem would also be subject to dispute under this option. The Palestinian region of the federation would likely declare Jerusalem as its regional capital, which Israel would undoubtedly reject. A possible compromise might occur if the Palestinians in the federation would consider Jerusalem as an administrative capital and not a political one. It would be understood that freedom of worship would be guaranteed in the holy places.

To be acceptable to the Palestinians, a Palestinian-Jordanian federation would have to be preceded by a lifting of the Israeli occupation from the West Bank and Gaza and Palestinian independence to allow them to decide their association freely. It would also have to be on an equal footing and preceded by a Jordanian-Palestinian agreement on the political nature of the federation. King Hussein would probably accept a federal arrangement so long as it preserved the monarchy.

A Confederation with Jordan

A confederation differs from a federation in that the central government of the latter is far more powerful than that of the former. Moreover, while the central government of a confederation is relatively weak, the arrangement allows the constituent entities more autonomy within their own boundaries, and the regional governments are strong. A confederation might therefore be more conducive to Jordanian-Palestinian cooperation and would also be less prone to regime change. Moreover, this is the solution (following Palestinian independence) that has been endorsed by the PLO's parliament-in-exile, the Palestine National Council (PNC), at its last three sessions.

Under the confederal arrangement Jordan and the Palestinian entity would agree to surrender a part of their sovereignty in the foreign relations and defense areas, but retain internal autonomy. For example, the confederation would act as only one unit internationally (UN membership, diplomatic representation, treaty making, etc.) but as separate units internally.

Needless to say, in order for a confederation realistically to be implemented, an agreement would first have to be reached between Israel and the Palestinians (and other concerned parties) concerning the termination of Israeli occupation, the establishment of a Palestinian self-governing authority, and the exercise of Palestinian self-determination. More specific agreements between Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians would have to follow on the nature and time-frame of the confederation as well as the distribution of powers between the confederal government and the governments of the constituent entities (e.g., defense, security, policy, regional planning, land use, communication, transportation, postal service, education, judicial and legal systems, health). Agreement on the economic policies of the confederation and the constituent entities would also be necessary, as would agreement on the legal personality of the confederation (citizenship documents, immigration and naturalization procedures, a national flag, etc.).

The two entities of the confederation probably would not seriously disagree about their respective political and legal systems unless they opted for a more stringent confederation arrangement, in which case they would have to make critical choices. If, rather, they agreed to establish a very loose confederation, they would be able to retain their separate respective international personalities (flags, diplomatic representation, etc.) with the confederation agreement applying primarily to national defense and security: the looser the confederation, the more independent the member units. Thus, since the con- federal arrangement allows the two components to develop their own distinct political systems, the Palestinian entity would likely develop a democratic system of government with national elections based on universal suffrage, while Jordan would likely maintain its monarchical system, albeit with a possible gradual reduction of the king's authority under the impact of Jordan's democratic experiment and the assertive role of the parliament.

Assuming a loose confederation comes into being, it would likely have a promising economic future based on a pooling of resources, talents, and sources of revenue (mineral resources, technology, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, etc.). Still, economic foreign aid would be necessary during the first five years, with the bulk going to the Palestinian entity for capital development; efforts would have to be made to establish an equitable distribution of wealth between the two entities.

Economic viability-the establishment of a healthy economy that could be service-oriented, entrepreneurial, industrial, and agricultural-would also presuppose the establishment of close economic relations with Israel (which would precede international trade agreements) and exchanges of educational and technical manpower and expertise with Israel and other countries in the region and outside it. Because of the political agreements prior to the creation of the confederation, a much wider regional market would be open to the confederation's economy. An Israeli-Jordanian/Palestinian economy would be able to interact with the economies of the entire region plus those of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the United States. The absence of economic boycotts and other political constraints would provide unprecedented economic opportunities for the confederation.

The confederation would establish friendly relations with its neighbors, including Israel. Since the confederation would be created as a result of an Arab-Israeli peace agreement, with Washington's support and security guarantees, it could probably reduce its military expenditures without feeling less secure. Regional peace would reduce the threat of terrorism, and would foster cooperation between the confederation and its neighbors to combat potential threats to regional stability.

As under the other options, the status of Jerusalem would likely be subject to dispute. Israel would object to any change in status for Jerusalem, dividing it, or allowing it to become the capital of the Palestinian entity in the confederation. The possible regimes for Jerusalem are as follows:

It could remain a united city but have three councils: a citywide council, a Jewish council, and an Arab council.

It could remain a united city within the 1967 preannexation corporate limits, and would remain the capital of Israel. The Palestinians would establish their capital in the eastern and northern parts of Jerusalem that fall outside the 1967 corporate limits of the city.

It could be divided into two parts, with East Jerusalem becoming the Palestinian capital.

East Jerusalem could be declared the cultural capital of the Palestinian entity in the confederation. Another city (possibly Ramallah, Bethlehem, or Nablus) could become the political capital of the entity.

Whatever the option, the holy places in Jerusalem would have to be open to worshipers of all faiths without restriction. A tripartite agreement aimed at setting up the confederation involving Israel, the Palestinians, and Jordan would create a conducive environment for a resolution of the Jerusalem question.

A Unitary State in Israel and the Occupied Territories Based on the Canton System

This option would consist of a one-state federation in the whole of historical Palestine based on a system of autonomous cantons, organized according to geography and demography. With a total population of approximately six million, of which almost 50 percent is Palestinian Arab (in Galilee, the Triangle, northern West Bank, Jerusalem, southern West Bank, Gaza and the Gaza Strip), the country could be divided into twelve cantons of approximately one-half million people each.

The cantons would have local taxation and police powers but would be part of a national federal system. The national government would be responsible for the foreign and defense policy of the state and the general welfare of the population. Certain policies in these broad areas would be reserved for the federal government, while others would be delegated to the cantons. The cantons would be free to promote their own culture, customs, language, and traditions. The federal government would have two official languages, Arabic and Hebrew; a national constitution and a national flag would express the political and cultural identities of both communities.

The national political structure would consist of a bicameral legislative body, a ceremonial president elected by both houses of the legislature, and a nationally elected prime minister. One of the two houses of the bicameral legislature would have equal representation from the cantons; representation in the other house would be based on population (a census would be taken every ten years).

The national budget (allocated according to population) would support both the federal government and the cantons. The cantons could also collect their own revenues. Canton boundary lines would essentially be administrative and cultural. Populations from the different cantons would move freely throughout the country.

The proposed unitary state would have a system of participatory government based on one voter, one vote, and recognized autonomy for each of the two communities within the canton arrangement, especially in terms of culture, language, and religion. A national bill of rights would prohibit discrimination in all forms and on all grounds. A national system of education would be open to all in all available fields. Each of the two communities would have a guaranteed right to establish local governmental structures reflecting their own heritages but in accordance with national policy.

This federal arrangement would allow the Arab and Jewish communities to develop and express themselves-politically, culturally, psychologically, and economically-freely and without coercion by a dominant group; the canton option is particularly sensitive to the principle of symmetry. It does not perpetuate a system of control or dominance of one group by the other. But the proposed Arab-Jewish canton-based unitary state would depend on the two peoples agreeing to live together as communities rather than as sovereign political national groupings. Being presently disempowered, the Palestinians might find such an arrangement more palatable than the Israelis. Israel, on the other hand, in order to enter into such an arrangement, would have to reexamine the Zionist raison d'etre of the state.

A canton-based federal state in all of Palestine could develop a viable economy in the first decade of its existence. Israelis and Palestinians are highly educated, and the state would have a high rate of literacy and technical expertise. It would also have an industrial productive base and would be self-sufficient in agriculture.

The state would require economic foreign aid in the first five years of its existence in the amount of three to four billion dollars annually. Much of that aid, at least in the beginning, would go toward building the basic public services infrastructure in the Arab areas (e.g., roads, water, communication and electrical systems). Most Arab towns and cities in Israel today as well as in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have no sewage systems or adequate road networks. Within a few years, the state would have a vibrant economy, with a high level of industrial output and exports. Within a decade, the state would boast one of the highest gross national products in the region.

This economic forecast assumes that the state would have concluded a host of commercial agreements and treaties with its neighbors and with other states and regional organizations as well. These agreements would cover such areas as commerce, investment, travel, work permits for the state's nationals in other countries, technology transfers, tariffs, and educational ex- changes. The agreements would minimize tension in the region and would reduce the military expenditures in individual states. Most importantly, these agreements would create an environment conducive to regional, economic, and developmental projects in science, technology, health, agriculture, tourism, and many other areas.

Once the state entered into regional agreements with its neighbors, it would become more secure internally and internationally. By having Israelis and Palestinians living and working together in one state, the prospects for internal stability would brighten considerably. The state security forces would be able to respond to any threat from radicals or irredentists.

Jerusalem would be the capital of the new state, although the cantons would have their own administrative capitals. An agreement could be reached on the federal level to locate the federal offices dealing with predominantly Arab cantons in East Jerusalem; Jewish cantons would be served by offices located in West Jerusalem. Worship in Jewish, Muslim, and Christian holy places would be free and open.

Recent Proposals for an Interim Arrangement

Unlike the other options, which concern the final status of the occupied Palestinian territories, proposals for an interim arrangement are currently on the negotiating table at the peace talks and are consequently in a state of flux. For this reason, this section will not be as fully developed as the others.

Several suggestions on the establishment of an interim regime in the occupied territories have been put forward at the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian talks since the spring of 1991. Such a regime would focus on self-government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and would be temporary. The Palestinian proposal at the peace talks calling for the establishment of an interim self- governing authority is based on these suggestions.

The PLO's support for an interim arrangement was first issued at the PLO headquarters in Tunis on 14 January 1992. A detailed elaboration of the plan, which called for the establishment of a Palestinian Interim Self-Governing Authority (PISGA), was submitted to the Israeli delegation by the Palestinian delegation to the peace talks on 3 March 1992 in Washington.

According to the Palestinians, the PISGA would have the power, inter alia, to represent the Palestinian people, to exercise jurisdiction-legislative and executive-over all the occupied territories, to administer justice, and to establish a police force. The PISGA would also supervise the elections of its 180-member legislative council.

The Israeli delegation rejected the Palestinian proposal on the grounds that it was a subterfuge for an independent Palestinian state. Instead, the Israelis proposed Interim Self-Governing Arrangements (ISGA), the jurisdiction of which would be determined through negotiations. According to the Israeli proposal, ISGA would essentially operate under the umbrella of the Israeli occupation and would have very limited authority on national, legal, and security matters. As expected, the Palestinians rejected the Israeli proposal; however, both the PISGA and ISGA remain on the table for further negotiations. Since June 1992, the Rabin government has offered serious proposals regarding Palestinian self-government in the occupied territories. An elected Palestinian council, which is supported by Israel and the Palestinians, would be a tangible confidence building measure in the ongoing process.

Palestinian proposals for interim arrangements reflect realism and pragmatism on the part of West Bank and Gaza Palestinian leaders who realize that the intifada has lost its focus and suffers from fatigue. The economic situation in the occupied territories has worsened, and the moderate leadership is losing its control over the Palestinian street. The moderate leadership's future influence will depend on tangible movement in the peace process. So also is the fate of the proposed transitional arrangements.

The interim arrangements proposed by Palestinians would best be described as something "more than autonomy and less than a state." During the transitional stage, the overall security of the occupied territories would remain in Israel's hands; however, Israeli occupation forces would withdraw from heavily populated Palestinian areas, and Israelis and Palestinians would engage in tangible confidence building measures. During this stage, Palestinians would begin to build community institutions and infrastructures.

Although each of the options appeals to different players for different reasons, none of the options will materialize without a genuine commitment on the part of Israel and the Palestinians. Palestinians do not expect major changes in the political systems of Jordan and Israel in order to accommodate their demands for independence. It should be pointed out, however, that no solution will endure unless it is ultimately embedded in the principle of self-determination and based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. The only option discussed in this article that embodies this principle is that of the independent state.

The move toward Palestinian self-determination will likely develop in three stages, combining some of the options cited above. These stages would be implemented as part of an ongoing negotiation process between Israel, Jordan, the Palestinians, and other concerned players. The first stage would involve the establishment of a Palestinian self-government, with a high degree of autonomy, in the occupied territories for a transitional period of three years. During this stage, Palestinians would concentrate on building indigenous governmental institutions to manage their own affairs. Overall security and foreign relations during this stage would largely be decided by Israel.

The second stage would involve a transformation of the autonomous self- government into a semi-independent political entity with its own symbols of Palestinian self-determination and eventual independence. This entity, which the Palestinians might call a "state," would be governed by numerous constraints. The purpose of these constraints is to allow the entity to build itself economically and to develop in peace without conflict or tension. The constraints will also provide the entity's most immediate neighbors the opportunity for confidence building and for regional collaboration. During this stage, West Bank and Gaza Strip Palestinians would institutionalize the concept of self-determination. Negotiations during this stage would proceed along two tracks-Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and Jordan. The first-track negotiations would focus on the future relations of the occupied territories with Israel; the second-track negotiations would aim at establishing a Palestinian-Jordanian federation.

Once negotiations are concluded successfully, the Palestinian entity and Jordan would enter into a confederation, which would encompass the third stage. The confederal structure would have one federal authority, especially in defense and foreign policy matters, and two internally autonomous components.

The three-stage approach to Palestinian self-determination would be gradual and would reflect a mutual confidence building process. This option seems to be the most workable and the least disruptive of the current status quo. It goes a long way toward fulfilling the national political aspirations of the Palestinian people, and it also satisfies Israel's security concerns. The 100-year conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians might at last come to an end.


Emile A. Nakhleh is the John L. Morrison Professor of international studies and chairman of the government and international studies department at Mount Saint Mary's College, Emmitsburg, MD. 


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