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35 years ago: Where next?

In the 1970s, Peace News carried frequent, and sometimes vitriolic, debates about the Middle East, often sparked by anger on the part of some readers at the uncompromisingly anti-Zionist line of its regular contributor – and sometime Middle East Editor – Uri Davis (himself a Jewish Palestinian). From time to time, as here, PN spelt out its own view.

Last week, Israel and Egypt signed a ‘peace treaty’. But the treaty isn’t between those who are actually fighting, and in fact intensifies the causes of the conflict.

Looking at it superficially, but with a nonviolent and anti-statist perspective, it has all the limitations of being merely a resolution of conflict over national territories.... The agreement is a further development of the Middle East wars, a continuation of Israel’s attempts to make Palestine a Jewish country and the Arab world’s attempts to regain territory conquered by the Israelis since 1948.

The deeper problem is that there is another war going on which will be intensified by the ‘peace treaty’ - the war between the Zionist settlers and the displaced Palestinians. The dispossessed and oppressed have not been invited to the negotiations and the solution does not take into account their needs and aspirations. They have been allocated, without being asked, ‘autonomy’ - meaning continuing life under Israeli rule....

While Israeli settlements continue to occupy confiscated land – with the settlers enjoying the advantage of Israeli citizenship – ‘autonomy’ will create two separate ‘Bantustans’, without even the nominally independent government that South Africa’s black people [are] granted by the white minority....

The Palestinians’ misery has given birth to political consciousness and the desire to return to their homes and enjoy full human and political rights in their own land. Peace will come to the Middle East when the Israelis, instead of waiting for the disappearance of the Palestinians and the arrival of six million Russian Jews, accept the return of the country’s indigenous population and agree to share all rights and resources with them.

From an editorial in the 6 April 1979 issue of Peace News. Buried Treasure is compiled by Albert Beale, author of Against All War: 50 Years of Peace News