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Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1601270306
ISBN-10: 1601270305
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Editorial Reviews


"Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace focuses on the Clinton and the two Bush presidencies, presenting a manual on what future officeholders should and should not do....an impressive and refreshingly concise book." (New York Review of Books)

"...a trenchant guidebook" (Newsweek)

"Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace is a tour de force that deserves wide readership not only in the official, journalistic, and think tank worlds but also in academia. This book should be widely utilized as a teaching tool by professors who want to add real life practices to the plethora of academic theory about conflict resolution and peacemaking." (The Honorable Samuel W. Lewis, former United States ambassador to Israel and former director of the Policy Planning Staff, U.S. Department of State)

“In a direct and diplomatic analysis, this book dissects the past decades of U.S. inadequacies and outlines the requirements for an effective U.S. policy in the Middle East. It is the ‘1975 Brookings Report’ of the next election, and it points sternly and creatively to the lessons and opportunities that we will be criminal to ignore. The United States Institute of Peace has done the nation a service in sponsoring the project, and the authors and their team have done the world a favor in looking so clearly into the past and the future.” (I. William Zartman, Jacob Blauestein Professor of International Organization and Conflict Resolution, Johns Hopkins University―SAIS)

“This rigorous, non-partisan, no-holds-barred analysis of the most recent twenty years of U.S. effort in Middle East peacemaking is essential reading for practitioners and scholars. The operational implications have powerful potential in the hands of leaders who care about the results as well as the politics of American statecraft in the region.” (Chester A. Crocker, James R. Schlesinger Professor, Georgetown University)

“I commend the authors of this book for their balanced and critical analysis of the U.S. role in one of the most pernicious conflicts of our time. The book publishes at a critical juncture for U.S. leadership in the Middle East. Its insights will be invaluable for many years to come.” (Joschka Fischer, former foreign minister and vice chancellor of Germany)

Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace comes at a pivotal moment for U.S. foreign policy. While delivering a critical assessment of the United States’ mixed record in mitigating the conflict, this study reasserts America’s crucial role in the Middle East peace process and provides a solid framework from which American policymakers and mediators can work to facilitate a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace settlement.” (George J. Mitchell)

“This volume is the most forceful, thorough, concrete, and concise analysis of the U.S. performance in the Arab-Israeli peace process since it was born as a political process in 1974. The sharp call for energetic, determined, and disciplined perseverance in pursuit of the clear-cut U.S. interest in an Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace sets the bar for our next president. It's a superb statement.” (Harold Saunders, former assistant secretary, U.S. Department of State)

". . . a well-reasoned, realistic study setting out what works and what does not in this distinctive diplomatic arena. Today's leadership (and tomorrow's) could usefully build on the lessons presented here." (Foreign Affairs)

"A 'tour de force'. . .[Kurtzer and Lasensky] dissect with a surgeon's scalpel the moves made by past and present U.S. administrations in their efforts to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. . .The only way that the next U.S. administration can succeed whether its predecessors have failed is if it takes to heart the ten lessons of Kurtzer and Lasensky and their recommendations." (Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs)

". . .A fine evaluation of U.S. diplomacy. . ." (New York Times)

About the Author

Daniel C. Kurtzer is a former United States ambassador to Israel and Egypt, and currently holds the S. Daniel Abraham Chair in Middle East Policy Studies at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Coauthor of Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace (USIP Press, 2008), Scott B. Lasensky is a senior program officer at the Institute's Center for Conflict Management and directed USIP's Iraq and Its Neighbors initiative.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 191 pages
  • Publisher: United States Institute of Peace; 1st edition (April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601270305
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601270306
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,473,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew Smith on April 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading for anyone involved in diplomacy, Mid East affairs, government service or any other service related to Arab-Israeli relations. I have never read a more concise or straightforward approach to Arab-Israeli diplomacy as in this book right here. This team has done a fantastic job putting this powerful book together. I can't say enough about how important this book is for those parties interested in peace between Arabs and Israelis, and how US policy can facilitate that peace.

This book is very short with only about 85 pages for the main body. The very short size of this book belies its strength though. The main body is broken down into basically four parts. The first part is a quick assessment of the failures and successes of past policies. It breaks down the importance of US influence in the process, and describes some lessons that should be gleaned from past experiences. The next section is a quick report card of the last three US presidents and how their policies faired. This will be the purview of the rest of the study. It focuses in on the last three administrations and derives lessons from each ones failures and successes. This is where the third section and the majority of the text will focus. This third section breaks down the last three administrations into ten key lessons that should be learned from each. The book ends with a recommendation for the next administration and his team.
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Format: Paperback
How can the US diplomatic community broker peace in the Middle East? Ambassador Kurtzer and Scott Lasensky, drawing on lessons from the past, offer the answers in this brief review of American leadership in the Middle East and how to pave the way to peace.

The book opens up with an overview of the policies for peace and track record of the past three administrations: Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43, reviewing each one's focus, discipline, and ability to garner domestic support for a peace plan. Although the Bush 41 team inherited an advantageous strategic environment, with the US as the only world's superpower at the fall of the USSR, and with an unequivocal success after the first Gulf War, there was no focused effort in building a domestic coalition to support the peace process. Clinton was successful in building this coalition, but his efforts were lacking in focus and discipline. Bush 43's track record was the least successful of the three, due not only to the post 9/11 environment, but also to some "more discretionary factors" (p. 15) and to a lack of "both commitment and a sense of strategic purpose" (p. 21).

The authors then shift to a discussion of the ten lessons learned in the Arab-Israeli peace process, divided up into four sections: (1) The Strategic Context; (2) Style and Substance; (3) The Foreign Policy Process and U.S. Domestic Politics; and (4) The Negotiator's Toolkit. The ten lessons learned are as follow:
- Arab-Israeli peace is in America's interest. September 11, increasing instability in the Middle East, the occupation of Iraq, and the threat from al Qaeda make American leadership in achieving Arab-Israeli peace even more important.
- U.S. Policy must be defined in Washington.
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Format: Paperback
This book provides the basis for sucessful Arab-Israeli peacemaking.

Foremost, this book is relatively short. It contains only 84 pages of main body, but a whopping 93 pages of included source documents and 5 maps. Because the main body is short, the book can be a quick read. However, the book is dense and assumes some reader background on the Middle East Peace Process.

What this is not is an 800-page discourse of every minute detail and personality who took part in the Peace Process under Presidents H.W. Bush, Clinton, and W. Bush. Simply, this book is a (successful) attempt to review what has worked (and failed) under the last three presidents with regard to the Middle East Peace Process. The interviewees behind this book represent a balanced assortment of the players within the Peace Process from within both the region and the United States. From the US, some of the names include James Baker, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Aaron Miller, Dennis Ross, and Anthony Zinni.

This book pairs well with some of the other books that have come out on the Peace Process, as well as some of the PBS documentaries (notably "Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs"). At the back of the book is an extensive recommended reading list.

This is a fantastic book. I consider it an essential reference on the Peace Process.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace by Daniel C. Kurtzer and Scott B. Lasensky IBSN 978-1-60127-030-6 copyright 2008. The book illustrates the historical events of this enduring conflict. America has positioned itself as the power broker in the region but has weakened this position by many missteps, not learning from the lessons learned and not taking advantage of opportunities presented. Nevertheless the US is the key and unique role to accomplishing a negotiated peace. "While many of the lessons are derived from the Arab-Israeli context, the book also serves as a general guide for negotiators, academics, and students of conflicts worldwide. (pg. vii)" Finally, taking all these lessons learned provides recommendations in the now much more complex conflict for future US administrations.

One of the key points to the book is how indispensable the US is in the negotiating process both for the Israelis and Palestinians. The US as a robust third party can vouch for the other side when distrust threatens the process. The US can provide funds and other resources to facilitate its position as mediator and in some instances stepping in as an arbitrator. This is a quasi-role that is fluid depending on the issue and specific conflict at hand. Whereas in this class we have discussed how mediators don't take sides and merely facilitate communication amongst the sides to assist them to come to their own conclusions and solutions, the US takes a much more involved position beyond simple mediator as it has deep interests in seeing a positive outcome.
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