The Commonwealth Blog

Forty Years Ago at The Commonwealth Club

Aug 18, 2014 @ 3:26 PM

By Hillary Straba

Almost exactly 40 years ago, on Aug. 16, 1974, when Ibrahim Shebat delivered his speech “The Middle East — Peace or War?” to The Commonwealth Club, peace between Israel and Palestine seemed unlikely.

Shebat, editor of Al Mersad, an Arabic version of Hebrew newspaper Al HaMishmar, stressed the need for compromise and emphasized that both sides had members who were in favor of a peaceful settlement and were willing to negotiate. Shebat believed that the problem could be solved using a two-state solution.

It has been 40 years since Shebat’s speech and the conversation has not changed. With the recent military action in Gaza, the conflict is in the headlines yet again and the proposed solutions remain the same – the one-state solution, the two-state solution, or the destruction of one side.