Palestine: Part 24 – Is Peace Possible?
Palestine: Part 23 – Venice Declaration
After the Venice Convention, opposition to Arafat was fierce not only among radical Arab groups, but also among many on the Israeli right who felt that even if the PLO accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242 and recognized Israel’s right to exist, Israel should never negotiate with the organization. This contradicted the official United States position that it would negotiate with the PLO if the PLO accepted Resolution 242 and recognized Israel, which the PLO had thus far been unwilling to do.
Other Arab voices had recently called for a diplomatic resolution to the hostilities in accord with the international consensus, including the Egyptian president on his visit to Washington, DC in August 1981, and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in his August 7, 1981 peace proposal. Together with Arafat’s diplomatic maneuver, these developments made Israel’s argument that it had “no partner for peace” seem increasingly problematic. Thus, in the eyes of Israeli hard-liners, the Palestinians posed a greater challenge to Israel as a peacemaking organization than as a military one.
After the appointment of Ariel Sharon to the post of Minister of defence in 1981, the Israeli government policy of allowing political growth to occur in the occupied West Bank and Gaza strip changed. The Israeli government tried, unsuccessfully, to dictate terms of political growth by replacing local pro-PLO leaders with an Israeli civil administration.
In 1982, after an attack on a senior Israeli diplomat by Lebanon-based Palestinian militants in Lebanon, Israel invaded Lebanon in a much larger scale in coordination with Lebanese Christian militias, reaching Beirut and eventually resulting in ousting of the PLO headquarters in June that year. Low-level Palestinian insurgency in Lebanon continued in parallel with the consolidation of Shia militant organizations, but became a secondary concern to Israeli military and other Lebanese factions. With the ousting of the PLO, the Lebanese Civil War gradually turned into a prolonged conflict, shifting from mainly PLO-Christian conflict into involvement of all Lebanese factions – whether Sunni, Shia, Druze, and Christians.
Palestine: Part 25 – 1982 Lebanon War