Barry Rubin was a senior fellow at the Institute from 1988-1993 and a visiting fellow frequently thereafter. He passed at the age of 64 in February 2014.
The PLO's steps toward recognizing Israel, rejecting terrorism, and advocating a two-state solution are not a public relations ploy. But, by the same token, the PLO has not been transformed overnight. As a result, U.S. policy toward the PLO should be geared toward pressuring and maneuvering the organization into completing its evolution toward becoming an acceptable negotiating partner for Israel.
In this Policy Paper, Barry Rubin claims Arafat’s acceptance of U.S. conditions for a dialogue does not represent a categorical shift in PLO strategy. Indeed, the PLO has adopted a policy of calculated ambiguity designed to avoid a choice between coexistence with Israel or pursuing Israel’s multi-stage destruction. Given the organization’s traditional stance toward Israel, there must be a protracted negotiating process in order to test the PLO's intentions, goals, and ability to live up to commitments.