Wednesday, February 09, 2005

"The Missing Peace"--5 stars

I have just finished Dennis Ross's "The Missing Peace". The book provides excellent context for the "peace process" that came out of Oslo and the American perspective on it. Ross has no kindness for Arafat whatever (he didn't deserve it, the SOB), and admits that Arafat was "overindulged" by the Clinton administration. He points out in the last chapter a failure of the Bush administration in not being on the ground to support proposals that came out under it, such as the road map, which was designed by the Quartet without working with the parties on how they were going to implement it. This process might have rebuilt trust, although trust in Arafat is ridiculous. The roadmap could be interpreted as what Palestinians and Israelis could do if Arafat was to be trusted. We are also able to see Israeli leaders beyond the vague impressions of them that were possible from the MSM. I had the impression that Barak was "doing his best" from the small attention I paid to his administration. But one can see from this book that, although Barak was willing to take risks for peace that Arafat was not willing to do, he did not always do his best. The issue of giving back some villages, such as Abu Dis, on the outskirts of Jerusalem became very tangled, with Barak delaying his promise to give even one because of political considerations.(In addition, there was considering letting El Al fly on Shabbos! Scandal!) Abu Mazen comes out more or less positive from the book. When he was a negotiator, he worked hard for peace and had creative ideas. Bill Clinton comes out as desperately wanting peace and willing to chastise both sides. Rabin is, of course, the hero of the book.
Possibly more later...

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