Review by Booklist Review
The Oslo Agreement, setting terms for a new relationship between Israelis and Palestinians, has drawn such wide mainstream support that few Americans realize many Palestinians consider this new relationship far short of self-determination. Columbia University professor Said, a relatively visible dissenter from conventional wisdom about the peace process, expands a similarly titled volume published in Cairo in late 1994, gathering some 20 commentaries from Al-Hayat, an Arab-language daily, from September 1993 through April 1995. (Many of Said's pieces also ran in Cairo's Al-Ahram Weekly; a half dozen were picked up by such publications as The Nation, London Review of Books, and the Washington Post.) A longtime member (1977^-91) of the Palestine National Council, Said challenges the usual interpretation of Oslo, arguing that "Arafat's flawed linguistic and political understanding do not permit him to perceive the difference between limited autonomy, which is what he got, and national liberation, which he gave up." Although all hope that developments in the Mideast are moving Israelis and Palestinians toward reconciliation and peace, Said's objections should not be ignored. --Mary Carroll
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
This is not an easy book. It's not that Said's ideas are difficult to grasp, but rather, as Said says in his introduction, ``this is the first of my books to have been written from start to finish with an Arab audience in mind.'' Perhaps even more than is usual for Said, author of The Politics of Dispossession and a member of the Palestine National Council from 1979-91, the book has a decidedly partisan spin as when he is shocked that ``a Palestinian negotiator once believed that Palestinians were a threat to the settlers!'' Still, beyond the rhetoric, readers will find very valid points aimed at both fellow Arabs and the international community. He chides the Arab world for nondemocratic governments and for negotiating without adequate understanding of America and Israel and without knowing their own resources-people, land and water. And he has very real concerns following the Oslo agreement: its failure to address all Palestinians-those in Israel, in the Occupied Territories and the vast diaspora-and the ghettoization of West Bank towns by the $600-million road system announced (post-Oslo) for the Occupied Territories. But generally, Said is an idealist, calling for absolute parity in negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. Pragmatically, however, the PLO is negotiating from a position of relative weakness that was made more acute by its disastrous position during the Gulf War, which left it cash-strapped; public feeling in Israel means that a strong Palestinian presence in Jerusalem is unlikely; and, however he tries to downplay it, terrorism is a major factor in Israeli and international attitudes toward Palestinians. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Said, a Palestinian intellectual with impeccable credentials that carry him well within both the halls of American academia and Palestinian political forums, despairs over the failure of his community's leadership to achieve a solid set of goals in the present negotiating process. Most of the material presented here has appeared elsewhere in Arabic-language papers or in one of Said's many publications, but all was written originally for an Arab audience. While the theme may appear to be redundant to manythe Palestinians caved in to U.S. pressure and obstinate Israeli demands without exploiting their advantage of moral position and sound political objectivesthe thought processes and manner of deliberation exhibited by Said require attention by everyone interested in the topic. Said's sentiment is echoed by other Palestinians such as Mohamed Rabie (U.S.-PLO Dialogue, Univ. Pr. of Florida, 1995). Recommended for students of diplomacy and in particular the current Palestinian-Israeli peace process.Sanford R. Silverburg, Catawba Coll., Salisbury, N.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.