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A Palestinian State and the State Department

Ezra Sohar
Policy Paper No. 68, from the book,
Israel and a Palestinian State: Zero Sum Game?, 2001


The British Royal Commission in 1937 (Peel Commission) and the Anglo-American Committee in 1947 both advised to divide Mandatory Western Palestine into two states, Jewish and Arab. The plenary session of the UN opted for this solution on November 29, 1947. The world accepted the Jordanian occupation of the so-called "West Bank" as the equivalent of a Palestinian state. Ever since Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, the United States has put heavy pressure on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was established in 1964 under the influence of Abdul Nasser in Egypt, in the Jordanian part of Jerusalem and taken over by Yasser Arafat in 1969. By becoming an international terror organization it forced the Arab League to recognize it as the authentic representatives of the Palestinian people. After Jordan waived its interest in the West Bank, the PLO was openly recognized by the European Union. The United States promised Israel in writing in 1975 not to talk to the PLO, but conducted secret talks with it all the time. Since 1989 the dialogue has been official.

Israel was a strategic ally of the USA during the Cold War. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the USA reverted to the attitude of the State Department during the 1950s, and has jeopardized the manifold advantages of the alliance with Israel for shortsighted appeasement of despots in the Arab world. The USA forced Israel to agree first to the so called "legitimate rights" of the Palestinians and then to negotiate with the PLO in Madrid. The dwarfing of Israel and the now almost open support for a fully fledged Palestinian state is a heavy blow to Israel. It is being inflicted by the USA on its faithful and only ally in the Middle East, thereby endangering its very existence.

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