What State Palestine?

What State Palestine?

For many, the century-old conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis seemed finally to have come to an end when in September the two sides signed at the White House lawn the Declaration of Principles (DOP) regarding the establishment of a “Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority” in the Occupied Terri- tories. Overnight, the status of the Palestinians, in the media at least, appeared to have undergone a total transformation, from that of the perennial terrorist and spoiler to one who is entitled to a place under the sun. However, it is not clear what sort of place this is whose contours were secretly crafted behind the scenes in Oslo, Norway, and away from the glare and publicity of Washington.

It is possible to find in the signed document something for everyone. For the Israeli government, the DOP is neither the launching pad for a future Palestinian state and the total withdrawal of Israeli forces nor a formula for relinquishing Israeli control over any part of Jerusalem and the settlements in the Occupied Territories. For the Palestinians, the agreement means eventual and total Israeli withdrawal, and a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. It is interesting to note that for the Likud opposition in Israel, the agreement means what the Palestinians say it means, with one significant addition: that it will usher in the beginning of the end for Israel as a Jewish state!

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Lima