Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Step or Two Behind Reality
Harrison, Drew, The Middle East
So far, Arab-Israeli peace talks have proceeded with depressingly little result. Just as disturbing, there appear to be few reasons why they might be expected to move faster this year. From Jerusalem, Drew Harrison gives a gloomy prognosis.
JUST OVER A YEAR ago, at the opening of the Arab-Israeli peace conference in Madrid, the government and others spoke of their target of one year for negotiations to establish the groundwork for a functional autonomy for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. It is uncertain whether they really suffered from such undue optimism or whether the pretence sufficed. A year later more American and Western peacemakers have come to see that the conflict between Arabs and Israel remains intractable for real and not imagined reasons relating to very different perceptions of security, identity and conflicting national consensus.
Although the cases of states making peace and dividing territory with independence movements are far and few between - indeed, in the West, such irredentist claims are denounced as secessionist - it is clear that regional integration between the Israeli model of government and society and that of the surrounding Arab states is a distant dream.
The Israeli position has been carefully outlined from the outset, in terms of the composition of the delegations with whom Israel was prepared to meet, to the items on the agenda acceptable for discussion, and the order in which they could be raised. The Palestinians first had to focus on gaining public sympathy for the justice of their case, and largely succeeded in this crucial undertaking through the gifted elocution of their delegation's spokeswoman, Hanan Ashrawi.
But the failure of the Palestinians' optimal scenario - to have the Americans hand back control of the Territories on the basis of a just Palestinian claim left them with few concrete proposals on the path to autonomy. They were condemned by …
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Publication information: Article title: Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Step or Two Behind Reality. Contributors: Harrison, Drew - Author. Magazine title: The Middle East. Issue: 219 Publication date: January 1993. Page number: 30+. © 2009 IC Publications Ltd. COPYRIGHT 1993 Gale Group.
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