Israel's Road to Peace
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A detailed account of the highly circuitous, incomplete Israeli journey toward a modus vivendi, and possibly a long-term settlement, with the Palestinians and a full-fledged peace with Jordan. Segev, former Washington and Paris bureau chief for the Israeli daily Maariv and author of The Iranian Conspiracy (1988), focuses primarily on the period between the Madrid Peace Conference (1991) and the first anniversary of Benjamin Netanyahu’s election (1997). Among his revelations are that King Hassan of Morocco, as far back as 1958, sought to persuade fellow Arab leaders to recognize Israel and even admit the state into the Arab League; contacts between high Israeli officials and King Hussein go back to at least 1960, when the Mossad foiled two assassination attempts against the Jordanian monarch; and Israeli right-wing critics are at least partly right in arguing that the Oslo accords are far too vague where Israel’s security needs are concerned; in fact, that very point was made by then chief of staff, now Labor Party leader Ehud Barak. Segev illustrates how Yitzhak Rabin was persuaded to continue the Oslo secret negotiations initiated first by two Israeli academics, then joined by then foreign minister Shimon Peres; how Peres and Rabin managed to join forces despite decades of political competition and mistrust, though their reconciliation was hardly wholehearted; and how Yasir Arafat’s “ineffective and corrupt administration has eroded his credibility, and his leadership is being constantly challenged not only by his opponents but also by many of his closest companions.” Segev digresses a bit too such, particularly in dealing with the pre—Gulf War diplomatic soundings between Jerusalem and Baghdad, while he gives somewhat short shrift to intra-Palestinian politics and to developments within Syria. Still, he has uncovered an enormous amount of fascinating information, and has written a book on seminal years in Israeli and Middle Eastern history designed for those who like their diplomatic history thick, rich, colorful, and nuanced.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-15506-9
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1998