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THE CAMP DAVID accord, while not a carved-in-stone guarantee of Middle East peace and a Palestinian state, is the single largest step toward those goals in 30 years. As such, it is incumbent on all Middle East interests to strive to implement the ideals of the accord. However, steps toward this solution will necessarily be small, tentative and conditioned on similar action by the opposing side, since suspicion runs too high for any party to unilaterally make dramatic concessions.
The majority's position rightly condemns Prime Minister Begin for his self-serving reinterpretations of the accord; but it does not parallely criticize Yasir Arafat's vows of accelerated violence, and Syrian Premier's Hafez Al-Assad's rejection of the accord on its face. Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect Syria and the P L O to lay down their arms so suddenly. But it is equally unrealistic to ask Israel immediately to grant nation status to the West Bank, when some Palestinian leaders still seek the destruction of Israel.
Despite the majority assertion that Israel gained all it needed from this accord, the nation actually compromised significantly, giving up the peninsula that served as a buffer from its most powerful enemy and accepting the goal of a West Bank state. This compromise was necessary and good, as a Palestinian state is both justified in its own right and essential to peace. But the majority errs in placing the burden for future gains solely on the Israelis by advocating that the Arab states wait and see what Israel will do. It fails to realize that Syria and the P L O have rejected the accords on principle, not because Begin reneged. Instead the Arab states and the Palestinians should--as should Begin--act affirmatively to implement the accord.
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