ISBN: 9781138784352

Jørgen Jensehaugen


Read more about this book at

Galia Golan has investigated a series of Israeli peacemaking attempts from 1967 until 2008. She analyses each case with care, looking at the various factors that stood in the way of success, and those that pushed in a positive direction. The result is a very good book, both in terms of understanding the cases as empirical studies, and in terms of testing and understanding general theories of conflict resolution. Her first case is the little known peace overture from Jordan’s King Hussein in 1967–68 which the Israelis largely ignored. Her other cases are better known. The 1978–79 breakthrough with Egypt is the most famous success case. The chapter is followed chronologically by the Syrian failure in the early 1990s, the successful Jordanian peace in 1994 (after many unsuccessful Jordan talks), Oslo I and Oslo II are given a chapter each, and finally the ‘near breakthrough’ between Olmert and Abu Mazen in 2008. Summing up, Golan finds that the most important negative factors determining the outcome of the talks are questions of trust and ideology. The failures are dominated by Israeli mistrust of their Arab adversaries and an ideology aimed at keeping the land. The most important breakthrough factor seems to be political will from the Israeli leadership. Once strong political will is present the negative factors are minimized, while lack of political will leads to the opposite result. Other factors investigated by Golan include spoilers (both domestic and in the diaspora), timing (particularly related to election cycles), the role of third party mediation, format (single treaty package vs. piecemeal treaties) and many more. Golan’s book is a well-written and an impressively condensed study.