A Compassionate Peace: A Future for the Middle East: A by Everett Mendelsohn

By Everett Mendelsohn

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Additional info for A Compassionate Peace: A Future for the Middle East: A Report Prepared for the American Friends Service Committee

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Employment in Israel accounts for 30 percent of the total income of West Bank and Gaza Strip Palestinians. But the importance ofthe territories as the largest outlet for Israeli goods has also increased. In 1979 Israel sold $300 million in goods in the occu- The Occupation I 31 pied territories, an amount greater than in France, the next largest buyer. The large number of workers who go into Israel to work also affects the local Palestinian economy. Because most of these workers come from the agricultural sector, the area under cultivation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been reduced by 35 percent.

We·deeply appreciate this and support it. However, for Israel, the certainty of maintaining continued military superiority over the Arabs is thoroughly in question and a new look at the security issue is neces­ sary. On what, Israelis now must ask, is true security based? One Israeli who asked this question and proposed a visionary an­ swer was the well-known historian Jacob Talmon. In an open letter to Prime Minister Begin published in the Hebrew daily Ha'aretz shortly before he died, Talmon made the case for Israel's giving up the occupied territories as part of a solution involving security consid­ erations.

Nevertheless, Israel stood to gain much from the treaty. Peace with the most populous Arab country, security along its Western borders, and realization that an­ other full-scale Arab-Israeli war could not be fought since Egypt was no longer in military opposition were major achievements. S. military assistance. But there have been important failures in the Camp David process. Egypt and Israel remain alone as Middle East participants in the Camp David peace process, and the hoped-for inclusion of other key Middle East nations-Jordan and Saudi Arabia-has not material­ ized.

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