During the years 1992–96 I was privileged to serve as Israel's ambassador in Washington (February 1993–September 1996) and also as its peace negotiator with Syria (July 1992–November 1995). In this dual capacity, I was especially active on the Syrian track of the Israeli-Arab peace process and also took part in most of its other aspects. This unique opportunity to acquire a much deeper understanding of both the Arab-Israeli conflict and the peace process was grafted onto more than two decades of academic study of and writing on Israel's relationship with the Arab world. So when I returned to Tel Aviv University in September 1996, I decided to write two books: a specific account of Israel's relationship with Syria (this was published in 1998); and an overview of Israel's relationship with the Arab world, which was published originally by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 1999.
The original manuscript was completed in March 1999; much happened in the next four years—Barak's brief tenure as Israel's prime minister, the collapse of the peace process in both the Syrian and Palestinian tracks, the outbreak and unfolding of the Palestinian-Israeli war of attrition, the formation of George W. Bush's administration and Ariel Sharon's two governments, the terrorist