Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The new edition of "The Seventh War"

"The Seventh War" is a book written by two Israeli journalists Amos Harel of Haaretz and Avi Yissacharoff of Israeli radio. It is written in Hebrew and is not yet translated into English. It has recently been updated to include further up to date information. A recent chapter concerning Arafat's death was published in Haaretz last friday.

The book basically looks in pain-staking detail at the period in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict from July 2000 to the present; that is from Camp David through to the Intifada and beyond.

Amos Harel desribes the book's conclusion as follows:

"The book nevertheless reinforced one conclusion that we suspected from the very outset: that despite the human need for an 'organizing idea,' that comprehensive theory that would cast the blame on one of the sides and divide the world into the good guys and the bad guys, things are more complex. Just as Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat did not plan the intifada, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did not pulverize the PA as part of a planned move he had decided upon before he came into power. Had the two of them been asked on September 29, 2000, about their forecast for the coming four years - it is doubtful that they would have assumed that the two peoples would be where they are today".

The importance of the book and others (see Enderlin's Shattered Dreams; Swisher's The Truth about Camp David; Klein's The Jerusalem Problem; articles by Malley and Miller) is that they posit a different narrative as to what has been presented by Israelis and Palestinians over the last four years. They do not accept the traditional Israeli narrative as presented by Ehud Barak that he offered everything to the Palestinians and their response was to launch an intifada because they do not genuinely accept a two state solution nor does it accept the Palestinian's position that they were blameless and that all the problems over the last four years was solely due to the occupation. The importance of these works is that they focus on the details and the particulars as to what actually happened and from there present a far more complex and accurate picture then what is commonly presented.

The 'no partner' thesis as presented by Israel over the last four years has been largely 'nourised' on this narrative. These works are important in encouraging a return to dialogue and engagement with the Palestinians. Whilst looking back over the last four dreadful years may seem unnecessary and perhaps only relevant to the historians, I am convinced that if we wish to prevent the errors made in the past, it is important to examine these last 4 years closely.

I will post my take on what I think happened over the last four years another time.

My first blog

Well this is my first blog. Very exciting. I hope this blog will be interesting for every one who reads it (that is if you do read it). I hope to discuss a wide range of controversial issues. I have a number of pet topics all of which I will try to bring up in my blogs. In particular you will see blogs on the following topics:

1. Israel/Palestinian conflict;
2. World politics generally;
3. Role of Media;
4. Religion and Society;
5. Other miscellaneous vingerattes.

Oh well let's start!!!