Arecurrent theme in three of the books under review is that the Palestinian intifada has made a peace settlement a goal of utmost urgency. The cycle of rebellion and repression is driving Israelis further to the right and Palestinians toward Islamic extremism. Every day that passes corrodes Israel’s economy, moral character, and relations with its own Arab citizens. “Unless sincere negotiations get
under way,” Ze’ev Schiff and Ehud Ya’ari predict, “both sides will suffer considerably for the foreseeable future and the ultimate outcome of the intifada will be much to Israel’s detriment.”
All these books were completed before the intifada began to taper off and fade from the news. They were written before intra-Arab assassinations began to outnumber killings by Israeli troops, and
before Soviet Jews began to pour into Israel at the rate of more than ten thousand per month. And before Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, deflecting attention from the plight of the Palestinians everywhere except in his own rhetoric. What happened to the political promise that the intifada seemed to contain two years ago, when Yasser Arafat uttered
the formula required to open direct contacts with the United States and attempted to cash in on the rebellion? Intifada or no, Israel’s Likud-led government is willing and ready to maintain the occupation into the foreseeable future.
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