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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

1998, Vol. 1 No. 2 .

The Middle East Peace Process
Ilan Peleg ed.

(New York: SUNY, 1998). 300pp. Index. Bibl. ISBN 0-7914-3541-5;.
pb $19.95, ISBN 0-7914-3542-3

The Arab-Israeli conflict and the numerous attempts over the years to bring about a lasting resolution to the conflict has engendered a wealth of scholarship. Scholars from almost every discipline in the social sciences have put their pen to paper in order to explain and make sense of events in the Middle East.

This book is a set of articles from a number of academic disciplines covering various aspects of the current Arab-Israeli peace process, many of which were first presented as papers to an Israel Studies Association conference held in the summer of 1995. As such, it is more a book which focuses nearly exclusively on the impact of the peace process on Israeli society and rather addressing the developments in the peace process as a whole. Indeed the two chapters on the Palestinians and the one on Jordan seem oddly out of place.

The book is divided into six parts: historical perspectives; peace and Israeli attitudes; peace and Israeli institutions; peace and the Palestinians; Jordan and peace; and peace and economics. As with all edited volumes emerging from conferences, the quality of the papers is uneven and some have lasted the test of time better than others. It is a book which is not intended to be read from beginning to end and is aimed more at the specialist reader rather than a newcomer to the Arab-Israeli peace process. As with a box of assorted chocolates, readers will first pick out the subjects in which they are most interested in and only then move on to the other chapters if they have appetite. But it is well worth the effort. All the chapters in this book offer the reader something new rather than going over old ground and the variety of issues covered in the volume make this is a useful addition to the ever-growing literature on the Middle East peace process.

Joel Peters, The University of Reading

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