A Middle East scholar explains the workings of Israel, Egypt, and the United States in making sure that Palestine would never become a state.
Devoting most of the book to the Camp David Accords of 1978, Anziska (Jewish-Muslim Relations/Univ. Coll. London) closely examines the motivations of and dealings among Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, and Jimmy Carter. Sadat had no real interest in establishing a Palestinian state; he only wanted to remove the settlements and regain the ground lost in the Six-Day War. Begin wanted to secure the West Bank and Gaza by increasing the size and number of settlements. In no way would he countenance a Palestinian homeland or any form of sovereignty. What he offered was “autonomy” of Palestinians for five years and Israeli citizenship, after which Israel would assume sovereignty. Another deal-breaker was Israel’s demand that Palestine accept U.N. Resolution 242, which called for the return of territories in exchange for the Arab world’s recognition of Israel and settlement for the refugee problem. The loose term “territories” was interpreted by Israel to not include the West Bank or Gaza. The “refugee problem” didn’t include the 700,000 Palestinians who fled after the Deir Yassin massacre of 1948. Palestinians’ objection to Resolution 242 involved the danger of conceding recognition of Israel without a guarantee of sovereignty in return. The Palestinians were not included in any talks until Madrid in 1991, primarily due to violent actions and lack of unity. The Palestine Congress had voted to accept the resolution in 1988. The Israeli invasion of Lebanon was launched because of the provocation of an assassination attempt in London. Israel obtained permission from the Ronald Reagan administration for a minor incursion to protect the Maronite Christians in Lebanon. As the author amply demonstrates, that 1982 invasion, the American involvement and losses in Beirut, massacres in refugee camps, and the attacks on Syrian installations threatened peace in countless ways.
Anziska displays an admirable understanding of the Palestinian plight, and his fair and equitable treatment is laudable and encouraging.