European Union Policy Towards the Arab-Israeli Peace Process, by Constanza Musu. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. xii + 178 pages. Notes to p. 195. Bibl to p. 216. Index to p. 224. $85. The Arab- Israeli conflict and peace process has been one of the most strongly debated issues among European Union (EU) Member States and a high priority on the European foreign policy agenda. In this book, Constanza Musu contends that EU countries have been unable to adapt their policy to a changing situation on the ground and examines why the EU has failed to develop an effective, autonomous strategy vis-à-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict. By analyzing European efforts regarding the peace process from the beginning of the integration process to the present, Musu identifies the factors and interests that shape the EU’s Middle East policy and questions the Member States’ commitment to harmonize and implement their different political, economic, and strategic interests in the region. (ZsL)
Where Heaven and Earth Meet: Jerusalem’s Sacred Esplanade, ed. by Oleg Grabar and Benjamin Z. Kedar. Jerusalem: Yad Ben-Zvi Press and Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009. 391 pages. Notes to p. 407. Gloss. to p. 410. $75. As political tension rises over the status of Jerusalem and the issues of settlements, accounts about the Holy Site are increasingly emotional and symbolic. Grabar and Kedar warn against “treating [the subject] passionately” and explain their attempt to remain as objective as possible in their presentation of Jerusalem’s sacred Esplanade. The volume’s three main sections cover the history of the Esplanade from 10th century BCE to the present day, thematic issues, and personal views. The book also contains numerous illustrations, maps, and photographs from the past and the present. (ZsL)
It’s Easier to Reach Heaven than the End of the Street: A Jerusalem Memoir, by Emma Williams. Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press, 2010. xxxv + 379 pages. Notes to p. 403. Gloss. to p. 410. Emma Williams, a medical doctor, arrived in Jerusalem in August 2000, four weeks before the outbreak of the second intifada. During the three years she spent there, she experienced violence, turmoil and extreme emotions and heard personal accounts from Palestinians and Israelis alike. Williams’ memoir is an account of her life in the divided city, mirroring the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with honesty, humanity, and fair judgment. (ZsL)
Mornings in Jenin, by Susan Abulhawa. New York: Bloomsbury, 2010. 352 pages. $15. This book by Susan Abuhawa, author and founder of the NGO Playgrounds for Palestine, is an emotionally wrought novel that describes the heart-wrenching tale of a Palestinian refugee family. Set in the refugee camp of Jenin, Amal’s family was forced out of their village by the founding of Israel in 1948. As the people fled, an Israeli soldier took Amal’s older brother. The story traces the familial, physical, and emotional loss experienced by Amal’s family, struggle for survival spanning over sixty years of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the transformative nature of marriage, motherhood, and love. (NF)
The Jews of Iraq: 3,000 Years of History and Culture, by Nissm Rejwan. 2nd ed. Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2009. i + 248 pages. Appendix to p. 259. Source Notes to p. 266. Index to p. 274. $23.95. For 3,000 years, Jews lived and thrived in the ancient society of Iraq, as told in Nissm Rejwan’s meticulous historical account. Rejwan begins in the period of Babylonian captivity in 731 BCE and the development of the Babylonian Talmud, continues through the Islamic rule beginning in 641 CE, and concludes in the 20th century with the mass immigration to Israel in 1951. This second edition includes a Foreword by Joseph V. Montville, who places the book in the greater context of the shared history and similarities between Islam and Judaism. Montville notes that although this connection is particularly relevant to contemporary politics, it is frequently overlooked. (CL)
Erasing Iraq: The Human Costs of Carnage, by Michael Otterman and Richard Hill with Paul Wilson. London: Pluto Press, 2010. xvi + 213 pages...