In This Review

The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After
The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After
By Edward W. Said
Pantheon, 2000, 345 pp

A collection of Said's writings from May 1995 to early 1999, most of which originally appeared in Arab or European media. Arranged in chronological order, all but one of the 50 pieces are short essays or op-ed pieces. All are eloquent, impassioned, and beautifully written. Often Swiftian in his irony (one piece is titled "Gulliver in the Middle East"), Said targets his usual miscreants: an Israel that keeps watering down its deals for the Palestinians, a United States ever-supportive of Israel while claiming to be an honest broker, and Arafat's despotic, corrupt Palestinian Authority. To Said, the peace process that began at Oslo in 1993 is largely a sham, but he expects it will continue its dubious route given the prevailing balance of power. Those who see this peace process as the best realistic chance for an Israeli-Palestinian peace may dismiss Said for offering no better alternative. But it would be much better to heed his strictures and actively try to improve the fragile, messy movement toward peace.