I. All states in the region, including a Palestinian state, have the right to independence and security.

US / Israel / PLO / Arab States / USSR / EEC States (bold = support; plain text = opposition)

UN Security Council Resolution 242 affirms the “sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of every state in the area,” but refers to the Palestinians only as a “refugee problem.” Soviet and PLO positions and the resolutions of successive Arab summits affirm the Palestinian right to statehood. The European Community asserts that the Palestinians have the right to self-determination and that a solution “will be possible only if the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to give effective expression to its national identity is translated into fact, which would take into account the need for a homeland for the Palestinian people.” The US and Israel consistently oppose the principle of Palestinian statehood.

II. Withdrawal of Israel from all territories occupied in 1967.

US / Israel / PLO / Arab States / USSR / EEC States(?)

Resolution 242 demands withdrawal of Israel from territories occupied in 1967 as one principle toward a just and lasting peace, though it leaves ambiguous whether this means all or some of the territories. The Soviet Union, the PLO and the Arab summits demand withdrawal from all territories occupied in 1967; the US has repeatedly indicated that its support for the principle of “territory for peace” need not include complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. The European Community has called for “Israel to end the territorial occupation which it has maintained since the conflict of 1967.”

III. Convene an international conference to negotiate a comprehensive solution to the conflict.

US / Israel / PLO / Arab States / USSR / EEC States

Since 1982, an international consensus, excepting the US and Israel, has supported convening an international conference involving all parties to the conflict, with the US, the USSR and the permanent members of the Security Council as guarantors of a settlement. The US conceives of an international conference as a means to “ease the entry of the parties into direct negotiation.”

IV. PLO participation in negotiations.

US / Israel / PLO / Arab States / USSR / EEC States

The Soviet, PLO and Arab summit positions affirm the right of the PLO to unconditional participation in an international conference on an equal footing with the other parties. According to the European Community, the PLO “must be associated with the negotiations.” The Reagan administration insisted that the negotiations reflect “the strategic reality of Jordanian-Palestinian independence.” Secretary of State James Baker stated in March 1989 that “meaningful” Israeli-Palestinian negotiations might require PLO involvement.

V. Place the occupied territories under temporary United Nations supervision.

US / Israel / PLO / Arab States / USSR(?) / EEC States(?)

The “political communiqué” issued by the Palestine National Council in Algiers in 1988 calls on the UN to place the Occupied Territories under international supervision in the context of convening an international conference to negotiate a comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Steve Tamari and Norbert Scholz

How to cite this article:

"Primer: Where They Stand," Middle East Report 158 (May/June 1989).

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