In This Review

A Path to Peace: A Brief History of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations and a Way Forward in the Middle East
A Path to Peace: A Brief History of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations and a Way Forward in the Middle East
By George J. Mitchell and Alon Sachar
Simon & Schuster, 2016, 192 pp.

This important but uneven book retells the well-known story of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and the failed efforts to end it. The authors reject a one-state solution, arguing that it would inevitably disintegrate into a violent and uncontrolled partition. They call on U.S. President Barack Obama, as he approaches the end of his time in office, to emulate his predecessors Bill Clinton and George W. Bush by issuing a comprehensive but purposefully imprecise declaration of principles on how to resolve the conflict. Obama’s successor in the White House, they write, should build on that declaration to relaunch negotiations—but only if the antagonists accept the general validity of the U.S. principles. The authors should have put more flesh on the bones of their account of the two years (2009–11) that Mitchell spent as Obama’s special envoy for Middle East peace. They also make scant mention of Mitchell’s long career in the U.S. Senate and refer only briefly to the lessons Mitchell learned as one of the architects of the 1998 peace agreement in Northern Ireland.