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Customer Review

on June 27, 2002
This detailed account of the American peace process in the Arab Israeli conflict is written by William Quandt, who has served Nixon and Carter on the National Security council.
Quandt tells what diplomatic moves the United States made to bring peace between Israel and the Arabs.
The account begins with the Six Day war. After the Six Day war the Arabs wanted Israel to give back land they had taken and justice for the Palestinians. The Israelis wanted peace and the Arabs to recognize Israel's right to exist. But the Israelis had no intention of giving up land, and the Arabs were not likely to recognize Israel's legitimacy
Tension existed in the Middle East until war broke out again in October 1973. Kissinger had ignored the Middle East until then, after which he negotiated continually in the Middle East under Nixon and Ford to bring peace to keep the Soviets from exploiting the chaos.
Carter started negotiations in the 70s, after Begin began construction of settlements on the lands captured in the Six Day war, indicating that the lands would be permanently held by Israel, making peace with the Arabs much more difficult. Carter worked hard to gain peace between Israel and Egypt which cost him in domestic politics. Carter mentioned the Palestinians for the first time in the negotiations
Under Reagan there were a lot of plans, but little was accomplished. After the Gulf War Bush restarted peace negotiations, hoping that the Palestinians support of Saddam Hussein would weaken them, and the collapse of the Soviet Union would remove support for the Arabs. Quandt ends with an account of Clinton's attempts at peace in the Mideast.
Quandt concludes that certain conditions must be met to gain success. There must be a realist appraisal of the regional situation, presidents like Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan considered Mideast policy as part of US Soviet relations. The President and his top advisors must work together in the negotiations, not like in the Rogers plan. There must be domestic support for American policy, a problem for Carter. Success as a mediator depends on a feeling for both process and substance. There must be quiet negotiation and preparation for negotiations. Pressure only succeeds if carefully exerted. Timing is crucial for successful negotiations.
Because this book is about the peace process between America and Israel,
there is almost no information about the domestic politics of any countries, especially the Arab countries. This book includes a good bibliography, and some good maps.
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