THE HIGH COST OF PEACE
The author of an early book on Osama bin Laden and director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism, Bodansky turns his attention to the Middle East, painting a nightmarish picture of a region that has been teetering on the brink of war for several years. The United States, which he says "seduced" Israel into the Oslo peace process, is partially to blame, as are Israeli politicians, who until recently have ignored intelligence reports of the Arab world's complicity in terrorism and military buildup. He details his evidence for Yasser Arafat's involvement in terrorism—which, he says, has been calculated to draw Israel into an on-again, off-again war that it cannot win. Arafat's goal, he believes, is to destroy Israel in a phased plan. Arab and Muslim nations—from "rogue" states like Iraq and Iran to more moderate ones like Egypt—have been engaged in the plan as well, but fear of an Israeli military response, among other factors, has prevented all-out war. Many will find it hard to believe that American and Israeli governments are as naïve as Bodansky claims about the level of unity in the Arab and Muslim world—which he paints as very high. And while Bodansky marshals a prodigious amount of detail to support his case—such as specific calls from Arafat for terrorist acts—his language betrays a point of view some will find problematic, as when he says that Anwar Sadat "manipulated" the U.S. "into getting him the Sinai interim agreements with Israel." A book that might serve as a clarion call is less convincing than it could be. (Oct. 1)
Forecast:This is a large, dense book that lacks the immediate relevance of Bodansky's bin Laden bio. While it should get significant media coverage, it won't meet the sales record of the previous book.