The Peace Puz­zle: Amer­i­ca’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989 – 2011

  • Review
By – May 13, 2013

Amer­i­ca is obsessed with find­ing answers and solv­ing prob­lems, yet Amer­i­cans and Amer­i­can pol­i­cy mak­ers face an excep­tion­al conun­drum in the Mid­dle East. Every U.S. pres­i­dent in the last two decades has been dragged into the quag­mire called the Mid­dle East peace process, yet the objec­tive of Mid­dle East peace remains elu­sive. The Peace Puz­zle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace has a very clear objec­tive: to under­stand the U.S.’s objec­tives and pol­i­cy and to try to devel­op a tac­ti­cal strat­e­gy which will achieve those objectives. 

It all began as a study group. The authors of this book were mem­bers of a work­ing com­mittee in a think tank that set out to cre­ate an effec­tive prac­ti­cal paper that would impact pol­i­cy. It took place in the U.S. Insti­tute of Peace (USIP). After the paper was com­plet­ed, the authors expand­ed their study and turned it into this book. Over the course of the study, one hun­dred and twen­ty peo­ple were inter­viewed, and more sub­jects were includ­ed lat­er to com­plete the book. The archives on the top­ics under exam­i­na­tion for this study will be sealed for years, so the only way to access the mate­r­i­al was through interviews. 

Sur­pris­ing­ly, the authors of this work are both crit­i­cal and sup­port­ive of the U.S. They nev­er lose sight of their goal: to help under­stand poli­cies and help the U.S. find the strat­e­gy that will move Israel and the Palestin­ians towards a peace agree­ment, get­ting both par­ties to the nego­ti­at­ing table and coax­ing, cajol­ing, and, if need be, even brib­ing them to uphold the agree­ments that are made.

Relat­ed content:

Mic­ah D. Halpern is a colum­nist and a social and polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Ter­ror, and main­tains The Mic­ah Report at www​.mic​ah​halpern​.com.

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