Touching Peace: From the Oslo Accord to a Final Agreement

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9780297643166: Touching Peace: From the Oslo Accord to a Final Agreement

Yossi Beilin provides a riveting inside account of the secret talks that broke all the official rules and led, sixteen months later, to the famous handshake in September 1993 between Rabin and Arafat on the White House lawn. He describes the subsequent Stockholm dialogue, which came to a promising conclusion just five days before Rabin's assassination, and reveals details of the unofficial - and yet to be implemented - understanding reached with PLO Deputy Abu Mazen on the content of a final peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The concluding part of this book addresses the all-important, and for Israelis unfamiliar, question of how to live in peace: Israeli nationalism and foreign policy, Israel as part of the Jewish world, electoral reform, religion and the state, the Arabs of Israel, and other topics. A senior figure in Israel's Labour Party, an intellectual as well as a man of action, Yossi Beilin reveals in this book his own creative and passionate commitment to a settlement in the Middle East. This is the story of risks taken and opportunities grasped, in pursuit of the holy grail of Middle Eastern politics of the late twentieth century: a lasting peace between Jews and Arabs.

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About the Author:

Born in 1948 in Tel Aviv, Yossi Beilin worked as a journalist and lecturer in political science before his political career began in 1984 as Cabinet Secretary. After serving as Director-General of the Foreign Ministry, Deputy Finance and Deputy Foreign Minister, he became Minister of Economy and Planning and then Minister in the Prime Minister's office. A Labour member of the Knesset for ten years, he has spearheaded peace process initiatives as a member of both the Rabin and Peres governments - his greatest achievement so far was initiating the Oslo agreement. The author of several books, Yossi Beilin lives in Tel Aviv with his wife and two children.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A firsthand account of the negotiations that led to the establishment of peace, however tenuous, between Israel and Palestine."Haunted by the many opportunities for peace that had been missed in the past," journalist and Israeli Labour Party official Beilin took it upon himself in the mid-1980s to bring an end to the decades-long war between his nation and its Arab neighbors. In this memoir, he recounts, with a surfeit of detail, the long conversations with peace activists, diplomats, and friends-of-friends that helped set in motion the Oslo peace process (which brought unusual concessions from all sides-including Israel's agreement to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and to permit the establishment of a Palestinian state). The negotiations, in time, led to a Washington-brokered meeting of Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat. Their handshake on the White House steps, Beilin wryly notes, "did not cause the pillars of the universe to sway," but it did lead to Arafat's being condemned by members of his Palestine Liberation Organization and Rabin's being assassinated by a right-wing extremist. That murder, Beilin writes, "turned everything upside down" and threatened to undo the provisional accords; Israel's new president, Shimon Peres, was reluctant to accept his predecessor's compromises, but in the end a difficult peace was made-and so far it seems to be holding. Beilin wisely observes that peace is only a partial solution to all the region's woes. "This isn't a state of bliss," he adds. "It's just normal." Normal or not, the peace Beilin helped bring about requires Israel and Palestine alike to come to a new sense of self-identity, one that does not presuppose a constant state of war with someone else. That change in thinking, Beilin insists, may take time and effort, but there is no alternative. "Having embarked on the Oslo process," he concludes, "we have no option but to continue it."A valuable contribution to the literature of conflict resolution and Middle East studies. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Beilin, Yossi
Published by George Weidenfeld & Nicholson (1999)
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Beilin, Yossi
Published by George Weidenfeld & Nicholson (1999)
ISBN 10: 0297643169 ISBN 13: 9780297643166
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