Diplomacy: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Part Twenty Five
After the Venice Convention, opposition to Yasser 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 advocating diplomacy saying 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 Egyptian President Nasser on his visit to Washington, DC in August 1981. Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Fahd ibn Abd al-Aziz in his August 7, 1981 released his 8 point peace proposal:
- Israel to withdraw from all Arab territory occupied in 1967, including Arab Jerusalem.
- Israeli settlements built on Arab land after 1967 to be dismantled, including those in Arab Jerusalem.
- A guarantee of freedom of worship for all religions in the Holy Places.
- An affirmation of the right of the Palestinian Arab people to return to their homes and compensation for those who do not wish to return.
- The West Bank and the Gaza Strip to have a transitional period under the auspices of the United Nations for a period not exceeding several months.
- An independent Palestinian State should be set up with Jerusalem as its capital.
- All States in the region should be able to live in peace in the region.
- The United Nations or Member States of the United Nations to guarantee the carrying out of these provisions.
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 Defense in 1981, the use of diplomacy by the Israeli government policy 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 26 – 1982 Lebanon War