Soon after the Oslo accords were signed in September 1993 by Israel and Palestinian Liberation Organization, Edward Said predicted that they could not lead to real peace. In these essays, most written for Arab and European newspapers, Said uncovers the political mechanism that advertises reconciliation in the Middle East while keeping peace out of the picture.
Said argues that the imbalance in power that forces Palestinians and Arab states to accept the concessions of the United States and Israel prohibits real negotiations and promotes the second-class treatment of Palestinians. He documents what has really gone on in the occupied territories since the signing. He reports worsening conditions for the Palestinians critiques Yasir Arafat's self-interested and oppressive leadership, denounces Israel's refusal to recognize Palestine's past, and—in essays new to this edition—addresses the resulting unrest.
In this unflinching cry for civic justice and self-determination, Said promotes not a political agenda but a transcendent alternative: the peaceful coexistence of Arabs and Jews enjoying equal rights and shared citizenship.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The End of the Peace Process|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
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|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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The End of the Peace Process
Ever since it began secretly in Oslo and was signed on the White House lawn in September 1993, the Middle East "peace process" has seemed to me not only inevitable in its course but certain in its conclusion. Despite various apparent setbacks from the 1994 Hebron massacre, to Yitzhak Rabin's assassination in 1995, to the various Palestinian suicide bombings and subsequent closures of territory, to, most recently, the destructive Benjamin Netanyahu period 1996-9 the sheer disparity in power between the United States and Israel, on the one hand, and the Palestinians as well as the Arab states on the other, has dictated that inevitability and its conclusions: the Oslo agreements would end in apparent success. As Avi Shlaim, the Israeli revisionist historian, puts it in a new book The Iron Wall, it "was the assessment of the IDF director of military intelligence that Arafat's dire situation [in 1992], and possible imminent collapse, [that] made him the most convenient interlocutor for Israel . . ." With Ehud Barak's assumption of power in May 1999 things have certainly speeded up, so much so that a comprehensive peace between Israel, the Palestinians, Syria, and Lebanon will very likely be signed, if not completely implemented, within a year or so. All the parties seem to want it. The Arab states, Egypt and Jordan chief among them, have declared themselves willing partners, and what Israel wants it most certainly will get, including the additional military aid and support from the United States that Clinton gave Barak in July 1999. Yasir Arafat and his small coterie of supporters can furnish little resistance to the Israeli-American juggernaut...