Rashid Khalidi and Camille Mansour, eds., Palestine and the Gulf (Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1982).
These essays, originally presented at an IPS-sponsored seminar in November 1981, provide some useful perspectives and information on both the Palestine question and the Gulf, but succeed only occasionally in demonstrating much linkage between the two. Mohammed al-Rummaihi of Kuwait University offers some provocative insights regarding the potential impact on Gulf politics of the large Palestinian population residing there. Rashid Khalidi cogently examines Soviet interests and objectives toward the region vis-à-vis US policy initiatives and concludes that in the 1980s the Soviets have supplanted their call for “Arab solidarity on an anti-imperialist basis” with a more modest search for a “broad Arab front including both radical and moderate elements.” Elias Shoufani offers an excellent analysis of Israel’s response to Reagan administration designs for pulling the Gulf states into a “strategic consensus.” In presenting how Israel seeks to maintain an exclusive role in Washington’s strategic designs for the region, Shoufani also underscores Israel’s predominant weight in the regional balance of power. Just how the Palestinian movement might overcome Israel’s force of arms is suggested by Robert Pranger of Washington’s conservative American Enterprise Institute. He advises the PLO to tie its future to the leadership of Cairo and Riyadh: They will effectively lobby Washington to force Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories, where a Palestinian state can then be set up. Just exactly where this logic can get the Palestinians emerged in the summer of 1982. The Israeli invasion and the Arab states’ response leaves Pranger’s argument, and indeed the implicit theme of the book, in need of substantial reformulation.