March 5, 2017
An insider’s perspective on the life and influence of Israel’s first native-born prime minister, his bold peace initiatives, and his tragic assassination
More than two decades have passed since prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995, yet he remains an unusually intriguing and admired modern leader. A native-born Israeli, Rabin became an inextricable part of his nation’s pre-state history and subsequent evolution. This revealing account of his life, character, and contributions draws not only on original research but also on the author’s recollections as one of Rabin’s closest aides.
In The Lingering Conflict, Itamar Rabinovich, a former chief negotiator for Israel, provides unique and authoritative insight into the prospects for genuine peace in the Middle East. His presentation includes a detailed insider account of the peace processes of 1992–96 and a frank dissection of the more dispiriting record since then.
The View from Damascus Sheds new light on the recent history and current politics and policies of this important Middle Eastern country. Throughout the last hundred years Syria has been a crucial hub of Middle Eastern events: the birth place and 'pulsating heart' of Arab nationalism, the object of colonial and regional ambitions, it has transformed into a regional power exerting influence over Lebanon and the Palestinians, Iran's closest ally and a thorn in the side of the Bush Administration.
The Brink of Peace does an excellent job of placing the reader at the negotiating table between Israel and Syria, but in some ways this may not be good. Since the talks were so maddeningly intricate, the players so difficult to read, and the final results so minimal, this record is a complicated autopsy indeed. Still, there is much to learn here, and few were as close to the action as Itamar Rabinovich. As Israel's ambassador to the United States and the chief negotiator with Syria from 1992 to 1996, Rabinovich sat through countless hours of teeth clenching and fist pounding that, despite the book's title, came nowhere near resolution on the main issues at hand. "At no time during this period ... were Israel and Syria on the verge of a breakthrough," he writes, and he then proceeds to present an incredibly detailed version of why things went awry.
Itamar Rabinovich considers the issues in all the relevant contexts: the core conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, a classic dispute between two national movements claiming title to and vying for possession of the same land; the broader political and cultural - and occasionally religious - conflict between Israel and Arab nationalism; the many bilateral disagreements between Israel and its various Arab neighbors; and the international structure in which colonial and postcolonial power