Read: December 2020

Inspiration: What is the context surrounding the conflict between Israel and Palestine? (recommended by a friend)


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“The Missing Peace”, published in 2005 by author, diplomat, and former Middle East advisor to several US presidents Dennis Ross, is a memoir of Ross’s experiences and observations during his time working on Middle East peace negotiations. Ross discusses the key players and events in the peace process, and provides insight into the challenges and opportunities he encountered during his time as a diplomat. He also reflects on the successes and failures of the peace process, and provides his thoughts on the potential for future progress. The book offers a unique and informative look at the behind-the-scenes dynamics of Middle East peace negotiations and the role of the United States in the region.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

Zionism is response to tragedies of Jewish history where dispersed and without homeland since 70AD (zionism is strength, create homeland), rise late 1800s w/ Herzl The Jewish State then Weizmann as immigrate to palestine increase, palestinian Arabs violently rebel against influx 1920/21 after British vice support for Jews and get worse in 30s (cannot live together), Hitler’s rise harden Jews belief need security and self-reliance, David Ben-Gurion lead Yishuv and adopt UN partition for Jew and Arab states ’47 and fighting grow to war 1948 after Israel declare statehood, Six Days War ’67 lead Israel to control one million Palestinians (and war cement self-reliance doctrine), Arab narrative seek end to internal conflicts and return to Arab strength/unity (“Arab revival” start in mid 1800s center around Arabic language and early 1900s defy Turkish/Ottoman oppression), want indep Arab states from Ottoman—but 1916 got spheres of influence not unity (humiliating and arbitrary division), Arab Palestinians feel land stolen by jews and violently revolt early 1900s but infighting still among families and seek out traitors (“intifada”), arabs unable to unify in palestine to fight jews supported by british and so 750k flee 1948 bc demoralized (“the nakba”-feel forced from home promised in various prior agreements), First Intifada (“the uprising”) sparked in 1987 by PAL frustrations in west bank and gaza—palestinians feel victim and entitled to US/israeli concessions, PAL think israel should be grateful even let exist bc land is palestinians (during 80s, refuse to talk directly with israel), PLO designated by arabs to lead and unite but israel view as terrorist, PAL feel rightful owners so US should give to them vs Israel own land so think they are givers and PAL accept whatever can get, Saddam Iraq invade Kuwait 1990, Syria and Asad want control of Golan Heights from israel, PAL want east jerusalem from israel, Rabin take over for Shamir 1992 seen as hero with new peace possible, 1992 Rabin and Barak (chief of staff) deport Hamas attackers back to Lebanon but Lebanon say no, Oslo channel reate backchannel between PLO and israelis close to leaders to negotiate peace for first time, hezbollah in south Lebanon attack N Israel, Sept 13 1993 Rabin and Arafat shake hands at Clinton white house as israel and PLO agree to work, Arafat walk off with Rabin, Mubarak, Christopher in Cairo on tv to show power when signing DOP with PLO (mubarak hate it), King Hussein of Jordan lose west bank to israel in 1967 war, in 1993 hussein still covert with israel bc palestinians majority in jordan over bedouins so not want to move ahead of PLO deal with israel, May 1994 Gaza-Jericho agreement b/w Arafat and Rabin allow PAL authority in those areas led by arafat change hussein, Jordan care about jerusalem also (pay for dome of the rock renovation), Hussein deal with israel if US congress offer debt relief, key in deals is also water access (jordan had shortage so need guarantees from israel), Hebron very significant to both sides, decide who gets military/security control vs public order vs civil control in lands for PLO, Rabin assassinated by Israeli Nov 4 1995–Bibi and likud party blamed for radical climate, syria and israel concern over sea of galilee water access, asad not control hezbollah in south lebanon but has influence (hezbo oppose peace with israel), string of terror attacks before election propel Bibi to win over Peres and dynamics change (bibi not respect palestinians so US need to step up as broker not just coordinator), bibi bring new settlements and dig up tunnel under mosque—anger over Hebron in west bank (PAL city with israelis living in it, want israel military only in their small area), bibi and arafat argue over meaning of interim agreement signed earlier by rabin, further redeployments transfer land and authority to palestinians but bibi consider buildings roads and apartments (worse) in areas PAL think should be theirs, hamas is jordan strengthened in 1997 after bibi/mossad botched assasination release spiritual hamas leader, PAL want 90% of west bank but bibi not want to give up more than 40%, saddam deny UN inspection early ’98 which makes PAL and israe nervous, agree second FRD at 13%, israel want security for land and palestine want land for peace, at Wye Summit ’98 bibi seem to always move goalposts for Arafat and full deal—political pressure handicap bibi into trying to give up as little as possible, after Wye deal Bibi could pivot center but fear right and lead to vulnerable–bibi ask for more than deal agree, esp on 30 arrests of PAL who kill israelis (but PAL not want all arrested bc help vs Hamas), other prisoner issues is 1000s of palestinians in israel who kill/wound israelis and pals (PAL want those who not kill israelis released but bibi refuse–“blood on hands”), bibi wants limited by base and may ’99 lose to labor part Ehud Barak election–US optimistic peace possible b/c Barak modeled off Rabin, w/ syria israel seek trade golan for security and water access to lake there, syria israel talks breakdown as israel demand lebanon talks open to finalize golan border with syria but syria say finalize border then authorize lebanon talks, deal requires concessions from israel that public will hate and terrorism get in way while arab leaders take all chances to shy away unless historic concessions, main holdouts at Camp David ’00 are decision on east jerusalem neighborhoods + Jordan border control + security measures + refugees + Haram/Temple mount sovereignty in Jerusalem as well is key, camp david end with agreement to talk more kinda (progress on stances but lack true deal), likud leader sharon to temple mount/haram anger pal late sept (show not give it up), still close to deal with barak and arafat set to meet but day after sharon visit on sept 29 second Intifada start (uprise by pal against israelis that arafat not stop, show “struggle”)–think arafat keep violence as tactic if not get concessions, violence spread through west bank as israel respond violently–spread to gaza and more palestinians die as IDF show strength, arafat pull victim card (not really stop riots), lynching of israelis in ramallah oct 12 spark massive barak response, clinton dec ’00 present clinton ideas as last effort at deal–barak accept deal for pal state in 97% west bank and 100% gaza but arafat stall and not accept (peace fall apart–barak to lose to sharon and bush enter so no more focus on negotiating), failure of peace was arafat failure and unwillingness in numerous situtations (leader of struggle and victim which deal go against, several times take steps to complicate, even allow or maybe order intifada), israel wants legitimacy from arab leaders but arab want land but israel feel land is control and security (arab partners stronger hand though), Oslo designed to transform psychology of each side but fail, few israelis don’t get palestine nationalism but don’t want to give up control, after Oslo israeli leaders change rhetoric while arafat did not–however, israeli behavior to palestinians not change and still restrictive, israelis harrass pal and pals respond with violence and cycle repeats, arafat ruin oslo and peace by acting as symbol not leader (perpetuate myths and struggle so can’t accept peace bc ruin it), arafat was decision-avoider and passive, key to peace was priming public acceptance which barak did decently but arafat never did so couldn’t actually reach deal, peace not come from top down or bottom up but need to engage publics (interact with each other, understand, can’t be diff reality from negotiators), role of american is to intervene where deal seems least likely to stop war (like when bush stop with peace and second intifada turn to war), america brings enemies to table, key to deal is recognizing core needs of each side and consequences for nonperformance (which lacked here), also need buy-in of arab states which lacked (need them to condition their publics, but they did minimum bc of how use conflict in past), palestinians must delegitimize violence (arafat didn’t) and stop being victims who think are owed/deserved but take responsibility instead, peace cannot be imposed by either side bc each so entrenched, need to compromise, gw bush disengage–think if peace not possible then make no effort which made it worse when still can mitigate and calm, arafat die ’04 and Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) win election–want end violence and intifada but not super strong leader, abu mazen want rule of law but hamas challenge (hamas never delegitimized by arafat), abbas want to build economy and calm tensions (but need arab leaders help and $ and hamas to relax violence), abbas need sharon and israel’s help in ’05 for calm as well as sharon want to withdraw from gaza and west bank–US can help with this, if not Hamas rise, sharon want calm also and peace

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