The Price of Middle East Peace
The September 1993 signing of a Declaration of Principles between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization is likely to affect profoundly the future course of events in the Middle East. Political, economic, and social relations among states, as well as relations between regional states and the international community, will all undergo changes in the years ahead as a result of the refocusing of attention away from the Arab-Israeli conflict. Restructuring economies and societies, developing responsive political institutions, and reconfiguring both political ambitions and objectives will present a major challenge, and will exact a high price from many regional regimes. For states such as Syria, for example, peace with Israel means abandoning the raison d'etre of Assad's authoritarian rule. For all Arab states, peace will almost surely arouse the ire of radical anti-Israeli groups, and present risks to ruling elites. Yet the long-term benefits of a stable region, and the promise of a shared vision of the future, should make the price of peace acceptable to those with the responsibility of creating it.