Formulation of Israeli Palestine Policy: A Consideration of the Variables
While the attempt to predict actual political behaviour is generally as risky as it is unrewarding, there appears to be value in identifying and evaluating the variables which may bear upon Israeli intentions and capabilities with regard to the Palestine question in the decade of the 1980's. This article grew out of a paper read in Amman early in 1981 in which the author attempted to assess such behaviour, paying especial attention not only to historically reinforced patterns of initiative and response but also to momentum or drift in determining factors where such motion can be discerned. The thrust of this discussion is not to attempt predictions concerning the evolution in the 1980's of Israeli policy towards Palestine or the Arab states, but rather to propose for consideration a set of variables which can be organized according to three categories. These categories include 1) the evolution of the domestic political process in Israel; 2) the pattern of social and economic development within the country; and 3) the external factors impinging upon Israeli policy-makers as they weigh their options and formulate their programmes.
John Ruedy is Professor of History at Georgetown University.