Syria and Israel : From War to Peacemaking: From War to Peacemaking

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Clarendon Press, Oct 26, 1995 - 292 pages
This is the first book to deal with the most crucial case of war and peace in the Middle East. Moshe Ma'oz examines the history of relations between Israel and Syria throughout the Middle Eastern conflict. Drawing upon a variety of original sources, the author discusses still little-known episodes in relations between the countries such as Syrian peace offers to Israel in the early 1950s and the mid-1970s; American and Soviet involvement; the role of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and the PLO; Israel's contribution to the aggravation of the conflict with Syria, and the new Syrian diplomatic strategy since 1988 and the peacemaking process after the Madrid conference (from late 1991). The book demonstrates the crucial importance of Syrian-Israeli relations for the strategic posture of both countries, for the fate of the Palestinian problem, and for the prospects of an overall Middle East Settlement.

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Professor Maoz is an expert on Syrian politics at least those related to the Isreali-Syrian Conflict (his other book Asad the Sphinx of Damascus saw the light in the late 80's and, until Patrick Seale published his definitive biography of the late syrian leader, was the ultimate reference on Asad).
The book in review deals with the complicated struggle between Isreal & Syria throughout the 20th century starting well before the 2 entities came into being. His coverage is balanced and sober and his research is thorough and extensive. Like many researchers of the Israeli-Syrian Conflict he had better access to israeli and western sources than to arab ones. For the latter he relies heavily on interviews, newspapers, and radio broadcasts made mostly for local consumption and utterly wanting in objectivity but that would in no way diminish the value of his labor. Few mistakes occur here and there that are fairly minor and would not significantly impact the accuracy of his book, for example confusing Muhsin Barazi with Husni Barazi and stating that President Taj Eddin Hasani was willing to reach a deal the zionists in 1946 (he died in 1943) but the dearth of arabic references could in part explain those occasional errors.
Despite those few shortcomings the book remains a valid reference and the essential work on this topic till 1995. The major developments since that date are still in the making.


The Historical Setting Dialogue and Conflict between Two Nationalist Movements
The 1948 War Armistice and Peace Offers
A ZeroSum Conflict Domestic Regional and Global Factors
Israel Confronts the USSR the USA and the UAR
Bathist Extremism and Israeli Activism The Road to War
From War 1967 to War 1973
Asad vs Rabin
The Struggle over Lebanon and the Palestinians
Asads Strategic Design
Syria Israel and the Peace Process
Peace Negotiations
From War to Peace?

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Page 2 - We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organization to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper.
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Page 2 - Organisation, mindful of the racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people, and realising that the surest means of working out the consummation of their national aspirations is through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab State and Palestine...

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