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The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace
The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace
by Dennis Ross
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.75
118 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars I think this is the best book one can read about the failed peace process ..., May 18, 2016
I think this is the best book one can read about the failed peace process in the middle east between Israel and Syria, and between Israel and the Palestinians in the decade between 1991 and the end of 2000. Ross details meticulously, from his perspective as an active participant in those negotiations, the various positions, objections and failures of the major participants, be they Syrians, Palestinians, Israelis, Americans and others.

In Ross's book, one gets to know the process inside out, where very little is left uncovered.

The upshot of the book, which will not make it favorable to Arab apologists, is that the Oslo process failed due to Arafat's reluctance to accept the Clinton Proposal, while Israel, under Barak's premiership, did accept it.

(The Clinton proposal talks about an Israeli withdrawal from 95% of the occupied territories, with some land swaps to make for the 5% annexed areas where the main settlement blocs are located). In east Jerusalem some divided sovereignty, including the haram/temple mount, and with respect to the refugee issue, those will have a right to return only to the future palestinian state).

Ross describes in detail how the Palestinian negotiators were almost ready to accept this proposal but that Arafat was not, speculating that he was not willing yet to declare an end to the conflict. (Ross tells the illuminating tale of how in Camp-David, Arafat suddenly came up with the argument that Israel should not have sovereignty on the western-wall since the Jewish temple was in Nablus, not in Jerusalem, thereby showing complete disregard for Israeli religious and/or historical sentiments).

This is a very long read but a worthwhile effort for anyone interested to know the facts about the peace process (as opposed to the myths and fabrications).

The Truth About Camp David: The Untold Story About the Collapse of the Middle East Peace Process (Nation Books)
The Truth About Camp David: The Untold Story About the Collapse of the Middle East Peace Process (Nation Books)
by Clayton E. Swisher
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.64
71 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars like Clayton Swisher, May 16, 2016
This book was written by who is today the "Director of Investigative Journalism at Al Jazeera Media Network". Indeed this book reflects the same standards of journalism and sensationalism of Al Jazeera. The book is anti-Israel by design and would appeal to anyone who believes, like Clayton Swisher, that Israel is the source of all the problems in the Middle-East, including the 9/11 terror attacks on the US. Swisher's book is full of deliberate inaccuracies (like misquoting UN resolution 242) and half-truths (like selective presentation of Palestinian responses to Israeli and American proposals), strategies that seem to come directly from the 'Israel bashers' textbook' of Norman Finkelstein and Ilan Pappe.

Other than Israel, the other main target of the book is of course, Dennis Ross, the Jewish middle-east coordinator under presidents Bush the father and Bill Clinton. In fact, it seems this book is an attempted response to Ross's charge (in His "the Missing Peace") that the failure of the Camp David 2000 negotiations was mainly due to Arafat's reluctance to end the conflict once and for all, given the quite generous offers given to him by Barak and in the Clinton proposal (known as the Clinton parameters).

How does Swisher try to exonerate Arafat from that charge? Not by any direct evidence, since there isn't any. As is well known, the Palestinians never responded to either the Barak offer or Clinton's with a counter offer, (probably since their counter-offer was the whole package).

This is what Swisher says:
"On the Palestinian side, Arafat showed detailed interest while listing his own reservations in a letter faxed to Clinton on December 28. It is worth reprinting the letter in full, in order to puncture yet another myth of Palestinian rejectionism, this one regarding the Clinton Parameters; namely, that the Israelis accepted them while the Palestinians rejected them".

But in fact the palestinians had a later response (January 2nd) in which they say:

"We wish to explain why the latest United States proposals, taken together and as presented without clarification, fail to satisfy the conditions required for a permanent peace".

Later, in that letter, they explain why they reject the Clinton parameters, with an emphasize on the "right of return":

"The essence of the right of return is choice: Palestinians should be given the option to choose where they wish to settle, including return to the homes from which they were driven. There is no historical precedent for a people abandoning their fundamental right to return to their homes whether they were forced to leave or fled in fear. We will not be the first people to do so. Recognition of the right of return and the provision of choice to refugees is a pre-requisite for the closure of the conflict".

That is, the palestinians saw the possible return of millions of refugees into the state of Israel, something that would have turned its Jewish population into a minority and would in effect be the end of Israel.

Now Swisher is not quoting from this letter and these rejections because they do not fit his thesis that it was israel who actually turned its back on the Clinton parameters. in fact, Israel's security cabinet voted to accept the Clinton parameters with some minor reservations, something Swisher will not let you know. But the quote from the Palestinian response makes clear why they wouldn't sign the end-of-conflict agreement: Arafat showed that all the negotiations with Israel, (starting with Oslo) where one big sham: he never really accepted Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state next to an Arab palestinians state, but wanted Israel to be absorbed by millions of returning arab refugees. (By the way, if one reads Ross's "the missing Peace", one can see that the issue of the right of return as mentioned in the quote above was NEVER mentioned by the palestinians. Palestinian negotiators understood that any mass return of refugees will have to be into the Palestinian state and not into Israel).

So this book is not the Truth about Camp David 2000 but the lies about it, by someone with a very clear political agenda: To wipe out Israel off the map and in that way to reconcile the US with the Arab world.

Save the World on Your Own Time
Save the World on Your Own Time
by Stanley Eugene Fish
Edition: Hardcover
53 used & new from $0.01

20 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars We need more values in academia, not less, July 6, 2009
I certainly agree with professor Fish that there is a world of difference between discussing a political issue politically, namely by taking a stand on it, and discussing it academically: by reviewing arguments pro and against it in an impartial manner, reviewing its social and historical context and so on. However, the idea that there is a neutral language of academic discussion, something to which Fish aspires, is at best an illusion, and at worst silly. First, all academics, even as they are equipped with the best of 'analytic skills' (what are these exactly?), are children of their time, the universities they went to, the professors they were influenced by, and probably their racial and other affiliations. This is not to say that academics should not be TRAINED to be as impartial as they possibly could (a value?), and that some cannot succeed in this better than others. Fish recruits Aristotle to his aid as someone who thought that virtue cannot be taught academically, namely, through scientific reasoning. But in fact, Aristotle didn't argue that virtue cannot or should not be taught. Quite the contrary: Aristotle thought that reading the right kind of literature could, and should, be used to inculcate in people the right sort of values. And indeed, when one reads Kafka, or Dostoyevsky, or Nietzsche, or Plato, in the classroom, one also teaches one's students something about values and the meaning of life. Even Plato's Socrates, who claimed that he possessed no knowledge, seems to us to know quite a lot about how one should live his life namely, through rational investigation. But then, isn't that exactly what Fish wants universities to be doing, that is, teaching us the basics of rational deliberation? After all, let us ask Fish, why should people go and study for a university degree if those institutions don't teach them something valuable about life? If the Physicist, or the Chemist, or the English major, should not come to value their discipline as contributing something good to themselves and to others, - and who is better to guide them there than their teachers - why should they seek that education in the first place? Both Plato and Aristotle thought that people, by their very nature, seek the morally good life. Universities, packed as they are with men and women of letters, should be good places, among others, to advance those aspirations. If some academics, from right and left, have abused their position to promote a misguided political agenda, this should not mean that academia needs less values but just the opposite: it shows that it needs better people to promote better values.
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