This article represents the views of the author alone and does not necessarily reflect the position of the World Jewish Congress.
Rather than discuss the day-to-day tactics of all the governments involved in or formulating concrete proposals for the solution of the various detailed issues, I should like, in this article, to look at the problem of the Middle East from a larger historical point of view. Too many proposals have been made already and are being made daily. Nearly every Israeli minister and general has ideas of his own-which they tend to publicize-and I am sure that in the foreign ministries of the various powers involved, especially in Washington, committees of experts, planning groups and the like are working on all kinds of schemes covering possible eventualities. What seems to me most important, however, is to examine the deeper motivations which brought about the present very difficult situation.
Looking back to the years before the creation of the State of Israel, when the Zionist movement fought for the establishment of a Jewish homeland, and at the 27 years since the creation of Israel and the way the conflict with the Arabs was dealt with, it seems evident that the situation has worsened from year to year and is now in a terrible mess. Even if Mr. Kissinger-whose tenacity, ingenuity and resourcefulness everybody must admire-should succeed in achieving another disengagement (which, at this writing, seems rather hopeful but still uncertain) this will not, in my opinion, ensure a real settlement or a definitive solution. It may therefore be useful for all those who, often very passionately, take an interest in the problem to analyze it against the background of its historical significance.
One cannot understand the situation created by the establishment of the Jewish State if one does not realize the unique character of the Zionist idea. It is one of the most revolutionary ideas of modern history. That a people claimed to return to their original homeland, finally after 2,000 years, demanding
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