Palestinian Question

September 13, 1974

Report Outline
Obstacles to Peace in Middle East
Arab-Zionist Struggle Over Homeland
Proposals to End Palestinian Problem
Special Focus

Obstacles to Peace in Middle East

Since the Arab-Israeli war last October prospects have brightened that the major parties to a quarter-century of struggle in the Middle East will at last find a basis for accommodation. Egypt, Jordan and Syria have forsaken or toned down the fiery rhetoric of the past about driving the Jews in Israel into the sea. There is now in most Arab capitals a de facto recognition of the Jewish state, and a sense that formal recognition could come if Israel surrendered the territories it seized during the Six Day War of June 1967.

Formidable barriers remain, however, when negotiators return to Geneva for another round of Middle East peace talks. One barrier is Israel's reluctance to give back the territories, which served as a buffer when the Arabs attacked in October 1973, without the strongest of guarantees that the country will not be attacked again. Another obstacle to peace is the massive quantity of Soviet arms supplied to Syria in the past 10 months—$2 billion worth of modern weaponry by Israeli estimates—which raises the threat of a Syrian attack on Israel or a preemptive Israeli attack on Syria.

A third and seemingly more intractable problem is the Palestinian question—what to do about the Palestinian Arabs who fled during the years of civil strife and war or stayed behind and came under Israeli rule. The one issue on which Israel, the Arab countries, the United States, the Soviet Union and the Palestinian Arabs themselves are agreed is that there can be no permanent peace in the Middle East until the problem is settled. But there is no agreement among the countries involved and there is no consensus among the three million Palestinians on the framework for a workable settlement.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Israel, Palestine, and Middle East Peace
Jun. 21, 2013  Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
May 2009  Middle East Peace Prospects
Oct. 27, 2006  Middle East Tensions Updated
Jan. 21, 2005  Middle East Peace
Aug. 30, 2002  Prospects for Mideast Peace
Apr. 06, 2001  Middle East Conflict
Mar. 06, 1998  Israel At 50
Aug. 30, 1991  The Palestinians
Oct. 19, 1990  The Elusive Search for Arab Unity
Feb. 24, 1989  Egypt's Strategic Mideast Role
Apr. 15, 1988  Israel's 40-Year Quandary
Mar. 02, 1984  American Involvement in Lebanon
Nov. 12, 1982  Reagan's Mideast Peace Initiative
Apr. 23, 1982  Egypt After Sadat
Jan. 04, 1980  Divided Lebanon
Jul. 20, 1979  West Bank Negotiations
Dec. 01, 1978  Middle East Transition
Jan. 13, 1978  Saudi Arabia's Backstage Diplomacy
Oct. 29, 1976  Arab Disunity
May 16, 1975  Middle East Diplomacy
Sep. 13, 1974  Palestinian Question
Dec. 12, 1973  Middle East Reappraisal
Apr. 25, 1973  Israeli Society After 25 Years
Aug. 19, 1970  American Policy in the Middle East
Apr. 25, 1969  Arab Guerrillas
Aug. 02, 1967  Israeli Prospects
Jul. 06, 1966  Middle East Enmities
Apr. 14, 1965  Relations with Nasser
Aug. 17, 1960  Arab-Israeli Deadlock
May 27, 1959  Middle East Instability
Jun. 04, 1958  Nasser and Arab Unity
Oct. 02, 1957  Soviet Threat in Middle East
Sep. 18, 1956  Suez Dispute and Strategic Waterways
May 09, 1956  Middle East Commitments
Apr. 13, 1955  Middle East Conflicts
Mar. 31, 1954  Security in the Mideast
Oct. 23, 1952  Israel and the Arab States
Jan. 30, 1952  Egyptian Crisis and Middle East Defense
Mar. 17, 1948  Palestine Crisis
Feb. 18, 1946  Soviet Russia and the Middle East
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Regional Political Affairs: Middle East and South Asia