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By Malcolm H. Kerr

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In any case, the viability of patchwork diplomacy is now more than ever in question. Not only has the oil crisis drawn the industrialized and underdeveloped nations of the world alike into the web of the Middle East conflict, but the course of violence itself has charted an ominous upward pattern. Each war comes sooner, kills more people, and costs more money; in between, terror and counterterror have increasingly become part of the everyday scene. The net result is that the conflict has become too dangerous and costly for many nations of the world to tolerate.

For some on the Arab side, peace with Israel automatically signifies injustice for the Palestinians, while in Israel there are those who view the continued conflict as the best means of maintaining Zionist morale and commitment. Nonetheless, for people who are fundamentally concerned with peace for its own sake, this has been a time for optimism. Unfortunately, much of this optimism is based on short memory. After two generations of strife, often punctuated by abortive peace efforts, it behooves us to be cautious, not only about Israeli claims that 1967 created a radically new situation in the Middle East, but also about Arab claims that 1973 did so.

In September, after completing their investigations in Europe and the Middle East, the majority of UNSCOP recommended the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states with an internationalized Jerusalem, while a minority offered a plan for a federal state for Palestine. The General Assembly Ad Hoc Political Committee then set up one subcommittee, composed wholly of propartition members (such as the United States and Russia), to consider the majority suggestion and a second subcommittee originally composed of Colombia and a number of Arab and pro-Arab members, 1 to take up an Arab proposal for a unified Arab state with protection for minorities and for the Holy Places.

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