The Palestinian Issue in the Middle East Peace Process: a Critical Appraisal

Date of Graduation

Summer 1994


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

William Van Cleave


This thesis is a critical appraisal of the "Palestinian" issue in the Middle East peace process. The thesis describes the historical Jewish attachment to the land of Palestine and the steps that led to the creation of the Jewish homeland, culminating in the state of Israel. Upon declaring independence in 1948, the state of Israel was attacked militarily by the Arab world, creating both the Arab and Jewish refugee problems. Israel resettled the Jewish refugees, whereas the Arab nations refused to reciprocate with the Arab refugees. For twenty years, this was referred to as a secondary, humanitarian problem in efforts to obtain Arab-Israeli peace. The thesis describes how this secondary issue was transformed by the PLO and Arab nations, and indeed assumed (in the eyes of many policymakers and world leaders) centrality in the Arab-Israeli dispute. American policymakers' understandings of the Arab-Israeli dispute from the Truman to Bush administrations are reviewed, along with the peace initiatives they based on those understandings. Finally, the Israel-PLO agreements, which are a reflection of the recently acquired central status of the "Palestinian" issue, are analyzed .

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


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