In sum, there seemed little reason to hope that in the new world
order Palestinians could expect a just settlement of their long-standing
conflict with Israel. Palestinians no longer possessed any independent military capability, and their political influence was seriously
weakened. Their Arab "brothers" no longer even feigned support,
and Israel was more committed than ever to retaining hegemony
over the land and resources of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and
the Gaza Strip. As such, the prospects for an independent state in
the West Bank and Gaza seemed more remote than at any previous
time. The United States, as the unchallenged leader of the new world
order, was in a position to impose its political agenda in the Middle
East without countervailing pressure, but that agenda did not include the satisfaction of fundamental Palestinian objectives. Human
rights, justice, political freedom, and self-determination for the weak
were in as short supply in the new world order as in the old.
Special thanks to Dario Mareno, Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, and Naseer
Aruri for their reading and critique of this piece.
For two detailed articles on U.S. policy toward the Palestinians see Cheryl A. Rubenberg, "U.S. Policy Toward the Palestinians: A Twenty
Year Assessment," Arab Studies Quarterly 10 (Winter 1988): 1-43, and Cheryl A. Rubenberg, "The U.S.-PLO Dialogue: Continuity or Change in
American Policy," Arab Studies Quarterly 11 (Fall 1989): 1-58.
For an analysis see
Thomas L. Friedman, "Syria's Tactical Leap Into
the Peace Process," New York Times ( 21 July 1991).
See, for example, Galia Golan, The Soviet Union and the Palestine
Liberation Organization ( New York: Praeger, 1980) and
Galia Golan, "The
Soviet Union and the PLO Since the War in Lebanon," The Middle East
Journal 40 (Spring 1986): 285-305.
Thomas L. Friedman, "Peace Talks But No Dove," New York Times
( 20 October 1991).
See, for example, the analysis by
Louis Uchitelle, "Gulf Victory May
Raise U.S. Influence in OPEC: Oil Prices of $18 to $22 a Barrel are Considered a Suitable Level," New York Times ( 5 March 1991).
For a detailed analysis of U.S. national interests see
Policy Toward the Palestinians."
Cheryl A. Rubenberg, "Introduction," Consistency of U.S. ForeignPolicy. The Gulf War and the Iran-Contra Affair