In This Review

The Peace Business: Money and Power in the Palestine-Israel Conflict
The Peace Business: Money and Power in the Palestine-Israel Conflict
By Markus E. Bouillon
I.B. Tauris, 2006, 272 pp

The 1993 Oslo agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty the following year were intended to set in motion a "peace process" leading to normal relations between the three parties: Israel, Jordan, and, ultimately, a Palestinian state. Instead, by September 2000, with the outbreak of the al Aqsa intifada, Israeli-Palestinian relations had begun a downward spiral, while Israel and Jordan have maintained at best a "cold peace." Bouillon traces the role of private-sector business in these years only to find that, rather than kick-starting a "getting to know you" phase economically advantageous to all, business' efforts proved to be a bust. The Israeli business community was important in initially pushing for the peace process, but its activities thereafter gave limited attention to its Palestinian and Jordanian counterparts. The Jordanian economic push across borders was driven by a small elite working with the king without support from the larger community. As for the Palestinian Authority, it was too disorganized and corrupt to permit any effective private-sector activity. Moreover, the fruits of the economic dimension of the peace process, such as they were, went first and foremost to the existing haves (economic and political, the two being intertwined), thereby souring any possible domestic support for the effort.