- Series: Israeli History, Politics and Society
- Paperback: 296 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (January 22, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0714685429
- ISBN-13: 978-0714685427
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,724,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations, 1999-2001 Within Reach (Israeli History, Politics and Society) 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
About the Author
Gilead Sher, former Bureau Chief and Policy Coordinator of Prime Minister Barak, acted as chief negotiator in the historic talks of 1999–2001 at the Camp David summit and the Taba talks with the Palestinians. Sher is one of Israel’s most reputable attorneys.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
The author brings this work alive by adding that personal perspective to the narrative. At one point in this narrative Sher inserts an anecdote about two orthodox business men who come to see him, and one hands him, the equivalent, of a ten dollar bill, and tells Sher this is so he will bring back peace from the Camp David negotiations. This one small anecdote puts that human face on the historical events. This the author does to great affect reminding the reader that this is much more than a simple history of some negotiations, but is instead a history people's hopes for a better life. Sher does a good job reminding the reader that this is a very personal account.
The importance of this book is the added perspective it brings to the discussion. It is especially important for those like myself who do not speak Hebrew or Arabic to have these translations in English to provide that Israeli perspective. To actually know these negotiations thoroughly it is essential to read as many different narratives as possible because each narrative is looking at these events from a different perspective so that they all see things very differently. I was surprised to see this account place so much emphasis on the failure of the U.S. negotiators to provide a very structured negotiating enviroment at Camp David. I tend to agree with the view that this was a major failing, but in the accounts I have read from the Americans they tend to downplay the affect of their lack of preperation. This is why it is essential to read as many of the personal accounts as possible to understand every perspective as thoroughly as any person can. This is what leads to a sound analysis.
I had a few problems with Sher's account though. He doesn't discuss at any length the negative affects on the Israeli and Palestinian people's support for the negotiations after the failure of Camp David and the subsequent blame heaped on Arafat and the Palestinians. He also doesn't discuss the media blitz that attempted to shift all the blame away from Barak. The speeches where Barak continually said Israel had no real partner for peace had to erode public support for continued negotiations but there is really no mention of this.
There is also the blame heaped on Arafat for the Second Intifada. While he certainly deserves blame, I am not sure if that blame goes as far as Mr. Sher believes it does. To me this is evidenced by the fact that Barak's government also lost control over its own forces with units ignoring the political leadership's commands. It just seems to me that if Israel couldn't fully control its own forces during these terrible days then I don't see how Arafat could have been expected to have such control over his and other Palestinian forces.
In the end I commend Gilead Sher for writing this book. I think he made an honest attempt to look at this history and produce an honest work that could shed light on these important negotiations. He was prepared to be self-critical and to take those long hard looks at himself and the government he was part of that is essential to provide that honesty. Even though I disagree with some of his views these disagreements are over interpretation of the facts presented and most certainly not due to the way in which the author presented those facts. As readers all we can do is hope the particpants provide these honest accounts rather than attempt to redeem or whitewash their own history. Gilead Sher has provided readers that honest account here, and this book is an extremely important addition to the history of these times. I highly recommend this book.
Filled with details of every meeting, discussion between Israelis, Palestinians and Americans, it fills in the missing details as to the motives and positions of the principal players in the negotiations. It reveals that the reason for the breakdown in the negotiations was complex and multi-causal, not simply a case of "exposing Arafat's face" as has so damagingly been popularised in Israeli and Jewish circles.
As Israel approaches a new round of final status negotiations after a break over six years, the Israeli government should have a good read of Sher's book for instruction. The time for wishful thinking regarding a final agreement is over - an agreement in the spirit of the Clinton parameters remains the best resolution of the final status issues, which as Sher sets out the Israeli government accepted, subject to minor clarifications over six years ago.
But, where this book distinguishes itself from dry historical accounts is that the author puts you right there. You are in the room with the key players. One is made to feel like the proverbial fly on the wall. The author, paints a word picture that leaves one smelling the cigars, the food, the tension, the fatigue of all night negotiations, and the emotional whipsaw of being inches from the finish line - the elusive peace.
A dry historical account it is not. The author fleshes out each of the key players. One comes to know their personalities and personal agendas. Their personalities come to life and evolve from two dimensional newspaper caricatures to three dimensional complex figures.
For one, such as myself, who started with the belief that a Palestinian/Israeli peace agreement is a fantasy, it is a strange journey to the truth. Peace, even if a cold peace, we come to learn, was, and still is, more a question of political will, driven by public perception, than it is an issue of security, borders, settlements, demographics, rights of return, and Jerusalem.
I look forward to the sequel. We all look forward to the sequel.