The Abyss: Bridging the Divide between Israel and the Arab World

Rowman & Littlefield
Free sample

Eli Avidar looks into the abyss that divides Israel from its Arab neighbors, in order to understand the inherent flaws, prevailing misunderstandings, and tragic mistakes that characterize the relations and bloodletting, and how, if at all possible, to bridge the differences. In doing so, he offers a new perspective about the reality of the Middle East and all the clichés that have transformed the Hebrew-Arab lexicon into a complex and hopeless minefield. It raises the question of whether the ongoing violent conflict between Israel and its neighbors might also be the result of a serious short circuit in communications. Is it possible that Israel, which has invested efforts and resources in knowing its adversaries, never even bothered to properly understand their language and their culture? Is it possible that Israeli leaders, who made their way to the top through the military and were privileged to know the most deeply hidden intelligence secrets, never learned to send messages of peace and reconciliation that the other side could respect and understand?

Spanning six decades, the book explains why the main diplomatic initiatives have so far failed to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and what needs to be done to break out of the vicious circle of ignorance and mutual suspicion that characterizes the conflict. Avidar uses his experience as diplomatic advisor to former foreign minister Ariel Sharon and as head of Israel’s representative office in Qatar to reveal secret diplomatic meetings as well as the dynamics of the unique and complex diplomacy of the Middle East. He also tells about the activities of the 504 division of the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Unit, in which he served as an operator of agents.
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About the author

Eli Avidar is a former Israeli intelligence officer and diplomat. He is the founder and head of the Forum for a Smart Middle East, which encourages new policy initiatives and offers Israel’s leaders and citizens’ alternatives for a better understanding of the culture of the region. He is also the chairman of the Leadership Empowerment Society in Israel.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Rowman & Littlefield
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Published on
May 5, 2015
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9781442245488
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Middle East / Israel & Palestine
Political Science / World / Middle Eastern
Social Science / Jewish Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A Brookings Institution Press and the University of California Press publication

Updated through the first term of President George W. Bush, the latest edition of this classic work analyzes how each U.S. president since Lyndon Johnson has dealt with the complex challenge of Arab-Israeli peacemaking. There have been remarkable successes—such as the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty—frustrating failures, and dangerous wars along the way. This book helps to situate the current Middle East crisis in historical context and point to some possible ways out of the impasse between Israelis and Palestinians. Quandt suggests a clear U.S. commitment to a two-state solution—one that would assure Israel of security and peace within the 1967 treaty-established borders, offer the Palestinians an early end to Israeli occupation of Gaza and most of the West Bank, and establish both a Jewish and Arab Jerusalem.

Written especially for classroom use, Peace Process is also an invaluable resource for policymakers and anyone interested in this vital region of the world.

Praise for previous editions of Peace Process

“Clearly written, carefully balanced and comprehensive in scope . . . should prove invaluable to all serious students of American foreign policy.”—New York Times Book Review

“A major work, whether judged by the standards of classical diplomatic history or modern political science.”—Foreign Affairs

“Provides fresh insights into the complexities of creating the process and defining the substance of American foreign policymaking.”—Survival

“While objective to a fault, Quandt writes with an insider's knowledge of policymaking and decisions taken at the highest levels of government.”—Middle East Policy

“Both a history and analysis of an evolving relationship between Israel and its Arab opponents.”—Choice

“A major contribution to understanding the complexity of U.S. presidents’ handling of the [Arab-Israeli] conflict. It should be compulsory reading for anyone studying the Middle East conflict, peacemaking and conflict resolution.”—Journal of Peace Research
How a president who prided himself on his decisiveness vacillated between policy approaches in the Middle East.

Although George W. Bush memorably declared, “I'm the decider,” as president he was remarkably indecisive when it came to U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His administration's policymaking featured an ongoing clash between moderate realists and conservative hard-liners inspired by right-wing religious ideas and a vision of democracy as cure-all. Riven by these competing agendas, the Bush administration vacillated between recognizing the Palestinian right to self-determination and embracing Israeli leaders who often chose war over negotiations. Through the years, the administration erratically adopted and discarded successive approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The results of this irresolution included the stunning triumph of Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian elections, Israel's 2006 invasion of Lebanon, the 2008–2009 clash between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and, in the end, virtually no diplomatic progress toward lasting peace.

In Indecision Points, Daniel Zoughbie examines the major assumptions underpinning U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East during the Bush years. Was there one policy or two? Was the Bush administration truly serious about peace? In a compelling account, Zoughbie offers original insights into these and other important questions. Drawing on the auhtor's own interviews with forty-five global leaders, including Condoleezza Rice, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Kofi Annan, Colin Powell, Tom DeLay, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel, Shlomo Ben Ami, and Salam Fayyad, Indecision Points provides the first comprehensive history of the Bush administration's attempt to reshape political order in a “New Middle East.”

Avi Shlaim's The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World is the outstanding book on Israeli foreign policy, now thoroughly updated with a new preface and chapters on Israel's most recent leaders

In the 1920s, hard-line Zionists developed the doctrine of the 'Iron Wall': negotiations with the Arabs must always be from a position of military strength, and only when sufficiently strong Israel would be able to make peace with her Arab neighbours.

This doctrine, argues Avi Shlaim, became central to Israeli policy; dissenters were marginalized and many opportunities to reconcile with Palestinian Arabs were lost. Drawing on a great deal of new material and interviews with many key participants, Shlaim places Israel's political and military actions under and uncompromising lens.

His analysis will bring scant comfort to partisans on both sides, but it will be required reading for anyone interested in this fascinating and troubled region of the world.

'The Iron Wall is strikingly fair-minded, scholarly, cogently reasoned and makes enthralling ... reading' Philip Ziegler, Daily Telegraph

'Anyone wanting to understand the modern Middle East should start by reading this elegantly written and scrupulously researched book' Trevor Royle, Sunday Herald

'A milestone in modern scholarship of the Middle East' Edward Said

'Fascinating ... Shlaim presents compelling evidence for a revaluation of traditional Israeli history' Ethan Bronner, The New York Times Book Review

Avi Shlaim is Professor of International Relations at St. Antony's College, Oxford. His previous books include Collusion Across the Jordan (1988) and War and Peace in the Middle East (1995).

Operation Protective Edge, launched in early July 2014, was the third major Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip in six years. It was also the most deadly. By the conclusion of hostilities some seven weeks later, 2,200 of Gaza’s population had been killed, and more than 10,000 injured.

In these pages, journalist Mohammed Omer, a resident of Gaza who lived through the terror of those days with his wife and then three-month-old son, provides a first-hand account of life on-the-ground during Israel’s assault. The images he records in this extraordinary chronicle are a literary equivalent of Goya’s “Disasters of War”: children’s corpses stuffed into vegetable refrigerators, pointlessly because the electricity is off; a family rushing out of their home after a phone call from the Israeli military informs them that the building will be obliterated by an F-16 missile in three minutes; donkeys machine-gunned by Israeli soldiers under instructions to shoot anything that moves; graveyards targeted with shells so that mourners can no longer tell where their relatives are buried; fishing boats ablaze in the harbor.

Throughout this carnage, Omer maintains the cool detachment of the professional journalist, determined to create a precise record of what is occurring in front of him. But between his lines the outrage boils, and we are left to wonder how a society such as Israel, widely-praised in the West as democratic and civilized, can visit such monstrosities on a trapped and helpless population.
“One of the very best books to come out of the war in Iraq,” (Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, bestselling author of On Killing), The Last Punisher is a gripping and intimate on-the-ground memoir from a Navy SEAL who was part of SEAL Team THREE with American Sniper Chris Kyle. Experience his deployment, from his first mission to his first kill to his eventual successful return to the United States to play himself in the Oscar-nominated film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper.

The Last Punisher is a “thoughtful, funny, and raw…always compelling” (Bing West, New York Times bestselling author of No True Glory) first-person account of the Iraq War. With wry humor and moving testimony, Kevin Lacz tells the bold story of his tour in Iraq with SEAL Team THREE, the warrior elite of the Navy. This legendary unit, known as “The Punishers,” included Chris Kyle (American Sniper), Mike Monsoor, Ryan Job, and Marc Lee. These brave men were instrumental in securing the key locations in the pivotal 2006 Battle of Ramadi.

Minute by minute, Lacz relays the edge-of-your-seat details of his team’s missions in Ramadi, offering a firsthand glimpse into the heated combat, extreme conditions, and harrowing experiences they faced every day. Through it all, Lacz and his teammates formed unbreakable bonds and never lost sight of the cause: protecting America with their fight.

“A rare glimpse into the mind of a Navy SEAL,” (Clint Emerson, New York Times bestselling author of 100 Deadly Skills) Kevin Lacz brings you onto the battlefield and relays the tough realities of war. At the same time, Lacz shares how these experiences made him a better man and how proud he is of his contributions to one of this country’s most difficult military campaigns.

The Last Punisher is the story of a SEAL and an “honest-to-God American hero” (Mike Huckabee, #1 bestselling author) who was never afraid to answer the call.
WINNER OF THE 2016 PULITZER PRIZE FOR GENERAL NONFICTION

“A Best Book of 2015”—The New York Times, The Washington Post, People Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Kansas City Star, and Kirkus Reviews

In a thrilling dramatic narrative, awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, Joby Warrick traces how the strain of militant Islam behind ISIS first arose in a remote Jordanian prison and spread with the unwitting aid of two American presidents.
 
   When the government of Jordan granted amnesty to a group of political prisoners in 1999, it little realized that among them was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist mastermind and soon the architect of an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East. In Black Flags, an unprecedented character-driven account of the rise of ISIS, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick shows how the zeal of this one man and the strategic mistakes of Presidents Bush and Obama led to the banner of ISIS being raised over huge swaths of Syria and Iraq.
   Zarqawi began by directing terror attacks from a base in northern Iraq, but it was the American invasion in 2003 that catapulted him to the head of a vast insurgency. By falsely identifying him as the link between Saddam and bin Laden, U.S. officials inadvertently spurred like-minded radicals to rally to his cause. Their wave of brutal beheadings and suicide bombings persisted until American and Jordanian intelligence discovered clues that led to a lethal airstrike on Zarqawi’s hideout in 2006.
   His movement, however, endured. First calling themselves al-Qaeda in Iraq, then Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, his followers sought refuge in unstable, ungoverned pockets on the Iraq-Syria border. When the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, and as the U.S. largely stood by, ISIS seized its chance to pursue Zarqawi’s dream of an ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate.
   Drawing on unique high-level access to CIA and Jordanian sources, Warrick weaves gripping, moment-by-moment operational details with the perspectives of diplomats and spies, generals and heads of state, many of whom foresaw a menace worse than al Qaeda and tried desperately to stop it. Black Flags is a brilliant and definitive history that reveals the long arc of today’s most dangerous extremist threat.
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