November marks a series of historic milestones in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: a century ago this month, on November 2, 1917, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour issued a declaration—that now (in)famously bears his name—promising British support for the establishment of a “Jewish national home” in Palestine. The intractable conflict between Arabs and Jews resulting from this pronouncement would produce several other historic milestones. On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 partitioning Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. Seventy years have now passed with no prospect for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. And after the crushing Arab defeat in the June 1967 War, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 242 on November 22, 1967 to address Israel’s conquest of Arab territory. Fifty years have since elapsed with no end in sight to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza—the longest military occupation in modern history.
We have dedicated our Fall 2017 issue to Palestine’s Century of Conflict as an occasion to reflect on these landmark anniversaries that have defined the Palestinian-Israeli struggle. This special issue features a distinguished group of statesmen, diplomats, scholars, and seasoned observers, who have authored a diverse range of essays on the current state of the conflict, the prospects for peace, and the implications of the continuation of the current stalemate.
We are honored to have had the President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas write us our lead essay, “Lord Balfour’s Burden.” Himself a refugee of the first Arab-Israeli war, President Abbas offers a candid statement on the historic impact of the Balfour Declaration and the century of suffering and dispossession that it has inflicted on the Palestinian people. This special issue also features essays by Nabil Elaraby, former Secretary General of the Arab League and foreign minister of Egypt; Nasser S. Judeh, former deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Jordan; Miguel Ángel Moratinos, the European Union’s first special envoy for the Middle East peace process and former foreign minister of Spain; Nabil Fahmy, former foreign minister of Egypt; Shlomo Ben Ami, former foreign minister of Israel; and Daniel C. Kurtzer who served as U.S. ambassador to both Egypt and Israel.
We are also happy to offer essays by a number of scholars and analysts who provide a balanced and wide-ranging analysis of the conflict, including Shai Feldman, Khalil Shikaki, Abdel Monem Said Aly, P.R. Kumaraswamy, and Allison Hodgkins.
Finally, having assumed our responsibilities as co-managing editors as of this issue, we would like to express our deep appreciation to our predecessor Scott MacLeod. Having started the Cairo Review more than five years ago, Scott has succeeded in establishing it as a leading policy journal that brings a regional perspective to global affairs, while upholding the highest standards of journalistic excellence.