While this book awaited its turn at the press, events injected new hope for a fruitful U.S. contribution to Middle East peace. Propelled by the intifada, which by December 1988 had cost the deaths of over three hundred Palestinians, moderate Arab forces launched a sustained peace drive. Strongly seconded by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Hussein (who stuck by his renunciation of legal and administrative ties to the West Bank), Yassir Arafat mustered overwhelming support within the PLO for a determined public peace offensive.
By the fall of 1988, even the staunchest Arab rejectionists had muted their criticism of the demarche -- influenced, apparently, by their own inability to suggest another alternative for building on the daily struggle of the intifada.
The Arab peace drive culminated in mid-November, with the Palestine National Council roundly approving Arafat's program and proclaiming the existence of a Palestinian state. The PNC stand amounted to an acceptance of Israel's right to exist and a rejection of terrorism and acceptance of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. It also seemed to accept limiting the declared Palestinian state to the West Bank and Gaza as well as to look favorably on a confederal arrangement on that basis with Jordan. This, at least, is how virtually all the world -- including most of Washington's closest European allies -- saw it.
The United States reacted in keeping with the analysis presented above. While the international context progressively generated pressures for a fundamental change in U.S. policy, personality and sructural factors generated strenuous resistance. Speaking for the Reagan administration, Secretary of State George Shultz denied Arafat a visa to the United States, and thereby prevented him from elaborating on the PLO's new posture at UN headquarters in New York. The General Assembly