THE problems facing Israel’s policymakers have not changed with the coming into power of the Likud-led government, and they will remain the same whether or not a Geneva peace conference is convened within the next months. In trying to formulate policy toward its Arab neighbors, Israel is faced, just as it has always been since 1948, with two sets of factors, which for simplicity’s sake may be labeled the constants and the variables; it is the agonizing choice between these two which has bedeviled Israeli foreign policy for almost thirty years.
The first set of factors, the constants in the situation, may be summed up simply as the basic unwillingness of the Arab countries to accept the legitimate existence of Israel as a sovereign Jewish state. In the political philosophy of modern Arab nationalism, there is no place in the Middle East (which, incidentally, the Arabs call “the Arab region”) for a body politic which is not Arab-Muslim in its basic political structure; no Kurdish, or Maronite, or Jewish commonwealth can be fitted into this exclusivist and hegemonial philosophy of Arab nationalism.
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