The PLO and Israel: From Armed Conflict to Political Solution, 1964-1994

In This Review

The PLO and Israel: From Armed Conflict to Political Solution, 1964-1994

Edited by Avraham Sela and Moshe Ma'oz
St. Martin's Press, 1997
310 pp. $45.00
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A book bringing together five Palestinians, ten Israelis, and one American on this subject at this time deserves praise, but this is more than a goodwill gesture. The contributors offer strong and well-argued interpretations without pulling their punches (one chapter even has a touch of pre-Oslo PLO bashing). The result is a useful picture of the perceptions, misperceptions, and strategies of Israel and the Palestinians during these crucial three decades. Five chapters treat "The Making of a Palestinian National Movement." Three address regional and international arenas. Four are subsumed under "The Rise and Influence of Local Activists." The final three chapters discuss more directly Israeli-Palestinian relations, past and future. Most chapters are manageably short and to the point. None is really weak, but don't miss Baruch Kimmerling on Israel's "power oriented" approach to settlement or Susan Hattis Rolef's treatment of Israel's policy toward the PLO -- two hard-hitting appraisals. Muhammad Muslih's "Study of PLO Peace Initiatives, 1974-1988" crisply presents the case for a PLO edging toward settlement as long ago as the 1970s. The editors' chapter captures that elusive subject -- the PLO in regional Arab politics.