First Advisor

John Damis

Term of Graduation

Fall 1993

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science


Political Science




Arab-Israeli conflict (1973-1993), National security -- Israel, Israel -- Politics and government, Palestine -- Politics and government (1948- )



Physical Description

1 online resource (4, vii, 174 pages)


The deep-rooted Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a major source of destabilization in the Middle East for some three-quarters of a century. Whereas other long-standing conflicts around the world have been brought to a close, this struggle (both in and of itself and within its wider Arab-Israeli dimension) remains a perennial tinderbox. This is particularly true given the unsettling realities of the region in which the conflict exists. Consequently, a certain sense of urgency for finding a permanent political settlement can be discerned both within the region and outside it. still, the search for a solution has yielded progress only on an interim arrangement (the Gaza-Jericho autonomy accord signed by Israel and the PLO September 13, 1993).

To be workable, a political settlement must break new ground by conceptualizing the problem in terms which transcend the traditional, emotion-laden and myopic rhetoric commonly used by both sides. This research is an attempt to contribute to a fresh, far-reaching understanding of the requisites for a secure Israeli-Palestinian peace and, on this basis, to evaluate the alternative scenarios for the ultimate disposition of the Israeli-administered West Bank and Gaza Strip. To that end, the fundamental question is which of these alternatives would go furthest in satisfying the vital interests of both parties so that a permanent settlement of the disputed territories might at last be implemented.

In developing a conceptual framework for evaluating potential solutions, this research incorporates a comprehensive definition of "national security" juxtaposed with a concept related to American-Soviet detente: common security. National security means protection against all major perils to a state's security, not merely military threats. Common security is a mutual commitment to joint survival. It is based on a recognition that because of an increasingly interdependent world, states can no longer achieve security unilaterally but rather only through the creation of positive-sum processes that lead to cooperation with one another. The first half of this thesis, then, attempts to establish the essential elements of a common security framework for Israel and the Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza.

The concluding chapters of the thesis focus on the evaluation of five alternative scenarios for an Israeli-Palestinian political settlement: 1) the present status quo: 2) the "Jordanian option," or a return to the status quo ante of June 1967; 3) Israeli annexation; 4) an Israel-Jordan confederation with a Palestinian entity federally linked to one or both; and 5) a Palestinian state, either fully independent or federally connected with Israel and/or Jordan. Each option is assessed on the basis of the degree to which it would satisfy the common-security criteria formulated in the preceding chapters: 1) protection against military threats: 2) the realization of Palestinian political self-determination; 3) the preservation of Israel's Jewish and democratic ideals; 4) internal (societal) and regional stability; 5) economic viability; and 6) the sufficient and equitable allocation of water resources.

The alternative rated most favorably is the establishment of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, excluding the Jordan Valley and the Jerusalem Corridor. This assessment presupposes certain provisions. Among these are the deployment of an American-led multinational peacekeeping force in the Samarian mountains of the West Bank, the creation of an economic confederation and tripartite federal water authority linking Israel, Jordan and Arab Palestine, and a special status for East Jerusalem. The implementation of such a settlement, it is argued, would create a new modus vivendi among the Arabs and the Israelis, which, in turn, could serve as the underpinning of a durable and comprehensive peace.


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