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  • 11/14/2004

Why Blame Israel? The Facts behind the Headlines

Neill Lochery

A provocative new history of a troubled country at the centre of the world stage

For a surprising number of people, Israel has become a pariah state, a threat to world – not just regional – peace and security. Israel gets the blame for half a century of Middle Eastern violence, and for stealing land whose historical right of ownership is at best contentious. This book examines the true history of the conflict and asks what could inspire such a caricature, and whether any truth lies behind it. Should Israel shoulder this blame, or are the realities of the conflict far more complex? And how can a geographically tiny state of only 6.5 million people be thought to have such a profound effect on world politics?

This is the first up-to-date detailed account of the history of the state of Israel, and the resulting Arab–Israeli conflict, from an author who comes from outside the fray.

Neill Lochery uses key events in Israel’s history to present a compelling new set of arguments that challenge much of the accepted conventional wisdom on the Jewish state. Beginning with the failed peace-making attempts of the 1990s, Lochery retraces the roots of the current crisis in the Middle East and looks at the lessons that need to be learnt from the past if Israel and its neighbors are going to peacefully co-exist.

This book is required reading, both for those who wish to understand the essentials of the Middle East crisis, and for those who are looking for deeper answers to the complex questions that surround Israel and its enemies.

NEILL LOCHERY is 39 years old, married with two children, and is currently Lecturer in Modern Israeli Politics and Director of the Centre for Israeli Studies, University College London.

Neill has written numerous scholarly articles and two scholarly books,The Israeli Labour Party andThe Difficult Road to Peace, as well as filing weekly background pieces for UPI,The Scotsman, theNational Post, the Chicago Sun-Times and theJerusalem Post, among others.

The End of the Peace Process:Oslo and After

In this important collection of fifty pieces, Edward Said questions the very foundations of theOslo accords. Signed in September 1993 on the White House lawn byIsrael and the PLO, the accords were immediately hailed as a success and a breakthrough for peace in theMiddle East, but Said realized that the imbalance of power between the signees would set up a problematic dynamic, bringing only an illusionary stability. The later interim agreements of Taba,Hebron, and the Wye Plantation would already limit the next phase -- the final-status negotiations set to conclude this year, when the future condition of refugees,Jerusalem, borders, water and compensations must be decided.

Incisively cutting through the hyperbole in the press surrounding the accords, these pieces document the historic content but also give otherwise unreported accounts of what has really gone on in the occupied territory since the signing. The continuing expansion of Israeli settlements, the repressive leadership and inflated bureaucracy of Yasir Arafat, Said's own return toJerusalem after forty-five years, the subsequent banning of his books by the Palestinian Authority, andOslo's inability to recognizePalestine's self-determination are among the issues of peace and justice he discusses.

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