From his experience as a senior adviser on the U.S. National Security Council, Abrams provides an intelligent and astonishingly detailed chronicle of the George W. Bush administration’s failed attempts at solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is an eloquent and unapologetic advocate for Israel and for American neoconservatism. Indeed, the voice of Ariel Sharon, the prime minister of Israel from 2001 to 2006, comes through more forcefully than any other of Abrams’ protagonists. But Abrams’ use of evidence is selective, and there are exasperating blind spots. The most interesting plot point involves the so-called road map to peace drafted by the Bush administration. The road map was tightly sequenced: first, an end to terrorist attacks against Israel; then, talks about the contours of a final settlement. Abrams reveals that if the second phase were ever reached, Israeli leaders would likely have knowingly offered far less than the Palestinian Authority could have accepted. So as far as Israel was concerned, the game was all about the first phase, whose completion Israel probably would have followed with a unilateral withdrawal from some parts of the West Bank.
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