Reading about the Israeli-Arab peace process is like watching a collision in the rain. Slippery roads, poor visibility, a series of wrong turns, and the two cars crash head-on. The drivers trade recriminations, but remain dazed by the sense that they themselves could have done something differently. Chairman of Israel’s dovish Yahad party, architect of the 1993 Oslo Accords Yossi Beilin emerges from the wreck in “The Path to Geneva” wondering what went wrong and how to salvage the peace, but is dazed himself in a book that can’t seem to find its bearings. His narrative begins with his own demise as Israel’s top peace negotiator. Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s defeat of Beilin’s mentor, incumbent Shimon Peres, in the 1996 elections stalled momentum on the Oslo Accords. From the opposition Beilin watched as his plan for rapprochement with the Palestinians disintegrated. Even after returning to government as Justice Minister under centrist Ehud Barak, Beilin was sidelined from the peace negotiations he initiated. With Oslo’s complete collapse, many Israelis have come to see Beilin as nothing more than a dreamer, or worse, a naïve meddler. But whether recognized or not, his role is critical. Having reached an unofficial peace agreement in the midst of daily violence, Beilin provides the Israeli electorate with an alternate vision for the future, one brighter than the besieged view of Israel’s current government. In order to have succeeded here, Beilin should have done more to convince us of that vision. Still, his role as both Israeli insider (intimate with the negotiations and the negotiators) and outsider (darling of the international community, persona non grata with the current Israeli government) puts him in an excellent position to recount a decade of peace talks and their failures. However, Beilin attempts too much. Beilin the politician unconvincingly attempts to insert himself at every critical moment in the peace process. Beilin the former journalist and historian attempts to recount a decade of hyperactive politics and tangled negotiations at the cost of analysis. Beilin the visionary attempts to advocate his breakthrough Geneva Accord, an unofficial peace agreement he constructed with former Palestinian minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, but never explores its importance or logic. Focusing on any of these roles would have made a fascinating book. Focusing on all of them makes it muddled and its prose feel rushed. Beilin’s refrain throughout is if only. If only Barak had taken Beilin’s 1995 unofficial peace agreement to Camp David, he believes the peace summit might not have failed. Indeed, the 2003 Geneva Accord (from which the book receives its name) stems from another if only: If only the Taba talks at the end of Barak’s tenure continued. One senses that Beilin views himself as one who bears witness to negotiations, has the solutions, but stands behind a oneway mirror shouting, unseen, unheard. A former journalist in the Middle East, Daniel Grushkin freelances in New York City.