In This Review

Israel and the Peace Process, 1977-1982: In Search of Legitimacy for Peace
Israel and the Peace Process, 1977-1982: In Search of Legitimacy for Peace
By Yaacov Bar-Siman-Tov
State University Of New York Press, 1994, 338 pp

Major foreign policy shifts come not just from war and conflict, but also from serious moves toward peace. Bar-Siman-Tov shows in convincing detail that peacemaking, as seen by Israeli leaders in the late 1970s, can be difficult and require immense political skills, not only in dealing with one's ostensible adversary, but also on the home front. Indeed, in the domestic arena the peace may well be won or lost. Menachem Begin, the author shows, was particularly successful in convincing the Israeli establishment that his deal with Egypt was in Israel's long-term interest. He often faced criticism along the way for giving up too much, for misreading the intentions of President Sadat, and for breaking fundamental taboos of Israeli foreign policy. But Begin skillfully warded off the challenges to his leadership and reoriented Israeli foreign policy toward peace with Egypt. The author holds out cautious hope that the peace process will continue, but most of this case study deals with the breakthrough with Egypt. The empirical account contains few surprises, although the author has made good use of published materials and has interviewed many of the Israeli actors.