Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Last Option: After Nasser, Arafat & Saddam Hussein : The Quest for Peace in the Middle East Hardcover by David Kimche (Scribner)

This revelatory political and diplomatic history of Israel's attempts to achieve peace with its neighbors is peppered with an insider's firsthand details. Israeli ambassador-at-large Kimche, a former negotiator in the prime minister's office, presents fresh evidence that Brezhnev manipulated Nasser and Sadat and controlled the timing of the Yom Kippur War of 1973. He faults Carter for nearly blocking Egypt's separate bilateral peace with Israel. He shows how the PLO helped instigate Lebanon's civil war and discloses specifics of Israel's secret aid to Iraqi Kurds between 1965 and 1979. Calling Arafat "a false prophet of peace," Kimche criticizes the European powers for embracing Arafat in order to distance themselves from U.S. policy in the Middle East. He also rips America for providing military and economic aid to Saddam Hussein, who deceived the West by portraying himself as a moderate.

This is an Israeli insider's insightful account of 44 years of deadly superpower intrigue, inevitable Arab-Israeli wars, and elusive attempts at peace. English-born Kimche (coauthor, The Sandstorm, 1968) has had a front-row seat to decades of Mideast drama that have unfolded while he has served in the Israeli prime minister's office, including a stint as director-general of the Foreign Ministry. While his revealing chapters on Israel's role in the Iran-contra affair might have sufficed for an eye-opening short book or a long essay, Kimche (largely to our benefit) recaps the entire lengthy background to the current peace process, now slouching from Madrid to be born. Major points here include: Brezhnev's primary role in setting up the Six-Day War; Sadat's masterful deception of both American and Israeli experts in 1973; Carter's bungling of the peace process, which forced Sadat to Jerusalem; the US and French sabotage of a Lebanese treaty with Israel in 1982; and major US intelligence failures, from the Shah of Iran's terminal cancer to the ``Kuwaiti Lorelei.'' Finally, Kimche--an impassioned believer in the merits of Israel making a separate peace with Palestinians in the administered territories--bitterly blames Arafat and the Arab rejectionists for obstructing opportunities for peace, particularly during the summer of 1967. A controversial mix of history and opinion that's both timely and noteworthy.

No comments:

Post a Comment