The Palestinians

Will they ever get an independent homeland of their own?


The U.S.-led rout of Iraq in the gulf war has reshaped the geopolitical map of the Middle East. Among other things, the crisis has focused attention on one of the region's most intractable problems: what to do about the Palestinians. Having rallied behind Iraq in the war, the Palestinians are now politically isolated and economically ravaged. The nearly four-year-old uprising, or intifada, in the occupied territories has begun to sputter, leaving the Palestinians' dream of an independent state as distant as ever. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, President Bush has proposed a regional peace conference, tentatively scheduled for October. The Palestinians' current weakness could work in their favor. As one expert says, it allows them “to pursue the attainable rather than the ideal.”

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