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.

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Apr. 25, 1969  Arab Guerrillas
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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
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Sep. 18, 1956  Suez Dispute and Strategic Waterways
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Apr. 13, 1955  Middle East Conflicts
Mar. 31, 1954  Security in the Mideast
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