The Palestinians and the Future: Peace through Realism
The Palestine Liberation Organization's declaration of independence on 15 November 1988 in Algiers has added a new dimension to the conflict between Israel and Palestinians. The declaration signaled the PLO's desire to resolve the conflict with Israel through diplomatic compromise. More- over, the resolution envisioned in the Algiers declaration seems to be grounded in the belief that two states should exist in Palestine, that Israel is a reality, that the Palestinian state would comprise the West Bank and Gaza, that negotiations should be founded on UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, and that terrorism should be rejected as a vehicle for settling international conflicts. While the PLO action represents a giant step toward peace in the Middle East, most of these principles were only alluded to in the declaration, not stated clearly and unequivocally.
This article examines the issues underlying the Palestinian quest for independence and proposes a program of action for the PLO in order to be a genuine negotiating partner. The article also reflects on recent political developments in the occupied territories, analyzes the present realities of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and proposes a course of action for resolving the conflict.
Emile A. Nakhleh, a professor of political science and departnment chair at Mount Saint Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland, is the author of several studies on the occupied territories, including. "The West Bank and Gaza: Twenty Years Later," The Middle East Journal (Spring 1988).