Palestinians Embraced Two-State Solution Three Years Ago

The author of the opinion-page article "New Voices for Palestine," Nov. 25, deems it newsworthy that the Palestinians at the Middle East peace talks are clean- shaven and moderate.He asserts that for the first time in 70 years Palestinians are demanding something less than "all or nothing." And he attributes this new moderation to Palestinian suffering during the intifadah years. Where in the world has he been? Certainly not talking to Palestinians, or listening to them. It has been more than three years since the Palestinian National Council overwhelmingly supported Yasser Arafat's move for a two-state solution. It was December 1988 when Mr. Arafat underscored that stance with a plea for a Palestinian statehood that "does not destroy the Israelis.... We want peace. We are committed to peace.... We want to live in our Palestinian state, and let live." Several months later, his deputy, Salah Khalaf, spoke eloquently (via videotape) to a peace conference in Israel: "Does any Israeli really believe in his heart that it is possible to destroy 5 million Palestinians? We have asked a similar question of ourselves and have concluded that we cannot destroy the Israeli people. The realistic solution, therefore, is that we live side by side and that we walk the path of peace." Anyone who visits the West Bank and Gaza finds a multitude of moderate, unshaven Arabs who have echoed these same sentiments throughout the intifadah years, in spite of Israel's continued colonial oppression. Gordon L. Shull, Wooster, Ohio Professor of Political Science, The College of Wooster

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