Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Modern History and Politics: Cursed Is the Peacemaker, the American Diplomat versus the Israeli General, Beirut 1982

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Modern History and Politics: Cursed Is the Peacemaker, the American Diplomat versus the Israeli General, Beirut 1982

Article excerpt

Cursed is the Peacemaker, the American Diplomat Versus the Israeli General, Beirut 1982, by John Boykin. Foreword by George Shultz. Belmont, CA: Applegate Press, 2002. 318 pages. Appends, to p. 338. Notes to p. 464. Bibl. and source notes to p. 478. Index to p. 488. $29.95.

The diplomat is Philip Habib and the Israeli general is Ariel Sharon. This is likely to be the definitive history of Habib's involvement in the Lebanon crisis from 1981 to 1983 and of his struggles to pound sense into various Israeli, Lebanese, and American heads. He did not succeed completely with any of them, and his efforts, through no fault of his, ended in the stillborn Lebanon-Israel peace agreement of May 17, 1983. The book is based on primary sources - oral histories, interviews with participants, and the official record from the archives. The extent to which Boykin went in documenting everything he wrote is revealed by the fact that there are 125 pages of notes for 318 pages of text. There is a great deal of detailed, factual information here that the serious student and the historian will find invaluable.

The first two chapters deal with Habib's earlier life and personality. Those of us who knew him can testify to the strength of the latter. He was living proof of the dictum that he with the loudest voice prevails. If you had been chewed out by Habib you did not forget it. Born in the United States of Lebanese parents, he grew up in a poor Jewish neighborhood of Brooklyn. He did not know much about Lebanon and did not speak Arabic, but he had an affection for the Lebanese and liked to make a point of it. …

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