The future of the West Bank and Gaza remains the single most crucial issue in the search for peace in the Middle East. Examining the entire range of possible outcomes, Mark Heller argues that an independent Palestinian state in those territories, even one dominated by the PLO, could, under certain stringent conditions, be the preferred option for Israel.
In the first comprehensive treatment of the political, social, economic, and military factors bearing on the disposition of the West Bank and Gaza, Heller sets forth the possible alternatives—annexation by Israel, perpetuation of the status quo, federal or communal arrangements, and territorial compromise within the framework of the Jordanian option—and evaluates their implications for Israeli security.
Heller outlines the conditions under which he believes the establishment of a Palestinian state could be the optimal solution. He also discusses the economic prospects of a Palestinian state and the future of Jerusalem. His analysis is the boldest attempt yet to come to grips with the Palestinian question and the future of Israel. No one interested in the pursuit of a peaceful settlement of the Israeli–Arab conflict can afford to ignore this book.
An original contribution to the debate, this book deserves the close attention of policymakers and the informed public.
There is nothing in the literature comparable to what Mark Heller has done… His analysis is informed by a deep firsthand knowledge of Palestinian and Israeli societies, and a thorough grounding in the relevant historical, geographic, strategic, and military literature. He carries out his inquiry with logic, admirable thoroughness, and enviable clarity of style and economy of words.
A superb analysis of the alternative ways of dealing with the Palestinian issue… It is, all in all, a model of how to do a sophisticated policy analysis of a highly complex political-security issue.
Heller is one of the few researchers who has approached the Palestinians in a dispassionate and scholarly fashion. The book is an important addition to any discourse on the problems of the Middle East, not only because of its rich sources (including actual interviews in the West Bank), but also because of Heller’s insightful analysis and lucid presentation.
- 204 pages
- Harvard University Press
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