THE PATH TO GENEVA: The Quest for a Permanent Agreement, 1996–2004
Yossi Beilin, . . Akashic/RDV, $22.95 (300pp) ISBN 978-0-9719206-3-7
Beilin, a member of Israel's Knesset and former government minister, was an architect of the 1993 Oslo accords; here he offers a comprehensive but dry insider's view of the recent years of Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy. Beilin's account accords with his image as a true believer in negotiations who has tried to bridge the gap between the two sides. He devotes much of the book to a blow-by-blow description of the failed attempts to make peace, critical of both the Palestinians and Israeli leftist leaders such as Ehud Barak; he regards the latter as well-meaning but flawed. But he saves most of his criticism for Israeli hawks like Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he sees as determined to avoid an agreement at any cost. The last chapter is the most vivid, as Beilin assesses why the peace process went off track: the Palestinian failure to fight anti-Israel incitement and Israel's failure to realize that ongoing settlement building would be seen by the Palestinians as a sign of lack of seriousness about making peace. But for Beilin, a confirmed optimist, the sign that peace is still possible is the Geneva Accord he helped negotiate in 2001 with a group of Palestinian leaders—the text is included in an appendix—and fellow optimists will learn much from Beilin's account. Map.
Reviewed on: 05/31/2004