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Most of today's national and ethnic conflicts cannot be settled by a revision of boundaries. To prevent the cauldron of ethnic unrest from boiling over, a new framework is required where Wilsonian principles have failed. Self-determination must be supplemented by a new scheme that is less territorial in character and more regional in scope. A "states-plus-nations" approach would create special functional zones across state boundaries and national home regimes in historical lands. It would recognize the rights and status of stateless national communities and differentiate between nationality and state citizenship.
The rush of notable events set into motion by the uprising nearly two years ago of Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza is impressive. Two decades of near tranquility in Israel's occupied territories were shattered. The intifadeh provoked Jordan's King Hussein to relinquish his claims to the West Bank, which his grandfather had annexed in 1951. It led the Palestine Liberation Organization to declare Palestinian independence, to renounce terrorism and to accept Israel's right to exist, which in turn paved the way for the diplomatic dialogue between the United States and the PLO. Finally, in Israel, it led the Likud-Labor coalition to adopt an initiative for elections in the occupied territories for transitional self-rule to be followed by negotiations on their final status. Opponents on all sides rallied in an effort to cripple Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's initiative. These events, and more, were crammed into a short period of time, creating a sense of unparalleled passion and fluidity, of fears among some and euphoria among others.