Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Summer Reading Time

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Summer Reading Time

Article excerpt

Summer Reading Time

Longer days, warmer weather, vacation time all provide more opportunity for digging into books that we did not think we had time to start. Here are two suggestions of books that are timely and fascinating. The June 1967 War After Three Decades, edited by William W. Haddad, Ghada H. Talhami, and Janice J. Terry and published by the Association of Arab-American University Graduates, is a paperback book which provides excellent background for understanding the expected renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Several of the chapters appeared in an earlier version in The Arab Studies Quarterly, but are even more timely now than they were in 1997.

Elaine Hagopian examines the Oslo peace process, and asks if it is truly a process for peace. It will probably not surprise readers of the Washington Report to learn that she states that, at the present time, it is not. Hagopian then discusses the sort of process that might lead to a lasting peace, noting that adherence to international resolutions and international law are important.

She also states that today it appears that no matter what the Palestinian entity is called, it will still be subject to Israeli interests and ultimate authority. If the whole of Israel/Palestine is already one state, a binational state, with Palestinian enclaves, then perhaps a better option would be to resurrect the binational democratic secular state.

Naseer Aruri provides his usual masterful analysis of U.S. policy toward the Arabs -- a policy that frequently does not accord with its own stated goals.

Phyllis Bennis examines the role of the U.N. in the controversy. Initially U.N. resolutions, such as the partition plan in Resolution 181, were embraced by Zionists. Having established their state, however, many Zionists are now claiming that the resolution no longer applies. Bennis shows how U.S. leaders have attempted to push the U.N. to the background or out of the picture completely.

Clovis Maksoud reviews history from 1967 to 1997 in all attempt to learn from mistakes. He suggests (1) restoring the framework of the PLO as the expression of Palestinian national unity; (2) Egypt and Jordan freezing diplomatic relations in the face of proven Israeli violations of international law and U.N. resolutions; (3) restructuring the League of Arab States to provide a forum for Arab civil society; and (4) connecting the Arab nationalist discourse to human rights, women's empowerment, environmental quality, and cultural openness and enlightenment.

New in this book is an article by William W. Haddad, "Fighting the June 1967 War," which explains concisely and clearly what is now known about the events before and during the war.

Also new is Edward Said's "Reflections on the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Its Past and Future," in which he suggests that Palestinians and Arabs demand consideration and reparations from the Jews of Israel without in any way minimizing Jewish Israelis' own history of suffering and genocide, as the suffering of the two peoples is connected.

Marc Ellis bas written "A Jewish Meditation on the 1967 War," in which he asks if it is "possible to prepare the next generation for a reconciliation with the Palestinian people if the Orthodox and liberal leaders of our people pretend that the central question of Jewish life -- the oppression of the Palestinian people -- does not exist?"

Ghada Karmi gives a powerful example of the Israeli attempt to claim Hebron in "Rewriting History: The Jewish Claim to Hebron." Janice Terry provides a list of selected sources in English on the 1967 war which should be helpful to scholars and/or the general public. This book is available from AAUG Press, 4201 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 303, Washington, DC 20008.

Another very timely publication is Jerusalem 1948: The Arab Neighbourhoods and Their Fate in the War, edited by Salim Tamari. With negotiations over Jerusalem expected during the next year or two, this book provides reliable information, pictures and maps of the area. …

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