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05/08/2021
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The Middle East Riddle

A Study of the Middle East Peace Process
and Israeli-Arab Relations in Changing Times

 

Author: Luis Fleischman
New Academia Publishing, 2021
264 Pages
ISBN 978-1-7333980-8-4 paperback

 

This book provides an essential analysis to understand the many mistakes and some successes marking the historical reality of the various attempts to forge a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians; it shows as well how the process has been torpedoed by the aggressive intransigence of Hamas and Fatah and by the evident inability of the Palestinian Authority to exercise a moderating influence in order to reach viable agreements with the Israeli government.

Although the author shows obvious sympathy for the Israeli side, he also shows remarkable objectivity to blame and criticize both parties involved in the Oslo peace process and in subsequent efforts, all of which have led to one impasse after another.

Given these circumstances, Dr. Fleischman observes that "a solution to the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict must come from some regional arrangement that includes the Arab World", although he also acknowledges that: "Historically, Arab states opposed the creation of the State of Israel because they saw it as a non-Arab, non-Muslim entity in the heart of the Middle East". Furthermore, he analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of an Israeli unilateral withdrawal from most of the West Bank, as well as President Trump's plan, which seemed so well on track until the Summer of 2020, painstakingly structured as a very detailed "political proposal that differs from previous atempts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" – a peace plan counting with the endorsement of some important Arab States or, at least, arousing the interest of many others.

Looking at the other side of the coin, the book recognizes the role of the international community as complicit in perpetuating the conflict through the actions of the United Nations and some Western countries.

In general, Dr. Fleischman abounds in the history of the peace process, showing that the sides have been very close to an agreement, and searches for nuanced solutions towards progress. He explores the chances that the Palestinian security establishment, that has worked together with the Israeli security establishment for years, could generate the leadership necessary to restore order to Palestinian society.

Indeed, this is an impressive book addressing important aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a socio-political perspective. It opens the doors to a measured and productive public debate on the subject.