As these words are written, it is not clear whether the mediation of Mr. Henry Kissinger will recover from its March setback and produce a second "disengagement" agreement between Egypt and Israel, exchanging another area of the Sinai desert for necessarily uncertain assurances. But whether or not there is such an agreement, it is by now absolutely clear to everyone that the limits of that procedure have been reached. Furthermore, one must sadly admit that much time has been wasted in the effort. The truth probably is that the Secretary of State's aims have really been not to achieve peace but rather to ease tensions and in the process to extricate America from embarrassing or intolerable situations.
But to dodge the real issues, to disregard the stubborn realities of a given situation and to ignore the deep-seated causes of conflict are not conducive to peace. These only prolong the agonies of war and postpone for a while the explosions of hatred. The underlying tensions are not reduced, they only build further.
Having made these preliminary remarks, I should like to state at the outset that I believe that peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis is not only possible but also probable. I also think that peace is not only the best solution for both antagonists and their supporters-Arabs and Jews-but that the Israelis and the Palestinians are doomed to achieve it. However, the road to peace no longer runs along the Kissinger-Sadat-Rabin itinerary, if indeed it ever did. It is time, and more than time, to confront the issue in its true dimensions.
It has been endlessly repeated that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stems from the fact that both sides claim the same country. This defines the issue quite correctly. That is the heart of the matter. However, the subsequent wars have been waged predominantly between the Arab states and Israel. This is equally true. Then, there is still a wider dimension to the conflict, probably the most important one-one that
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