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Book Reviews 121 Israel, Jordan, and the Peace Process, by Yehuda Lukacs. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1997. 258 pp. $39.95. Since much of the literature on the Arab-Israeli conflict is focused on the Palestinian dimension, it is easy to overlook the other Arab factor in this drama, namely Jordan. Perhaps one reason for this is Jordan's contested claim in Palestine, although realism, as well as geopolitics, necessitates taking a closer look at this significant regional player. One could even go as far as saying that no political entity influenced this conflict as much as Jordan. Given its long tenure as the reigning power in the West Bank, as well as its control over the lives of many Jordanian Palestinians in the East Bank, Jordan's interests can neither be ignored nor side-stepped. . Because Jordan's relations with Israel, furthermore, were always shadowy and secretive, very little could be said about the nature of its actual long-term objectives in Eastern Palestine. Until the publication of Avi Shlaim's Collusion Across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine (1988), all information about covert Jordanian contacts with the Jewish state was confined to the realm of speculation and conjecture. There were even those who emphasized the significance of Egypt as the foremost regional player in this conflict. But Egypt's dispute with Israel lacked a territorial basis, as was proven following Israel's 1978 evacuation from Sinai. Thus, while Egypt often acted as a surrogate for the PLO in the international arena, Jordan acted as an alternative authority to the PLO. Professor Yehuda Lukacs's study, Israel, Jordan, and the Peace Process, is a valiant effort to shed new light on this tangled dimension of the conflict. If for nothing else, the study should be valued for underscoring the indispensability of Jordanian consent to the realiZation ofIsrael's policies in the West Bank following the 1967 June War. Indeed, he correctly points out that even though Israel exploited the illegitimacy of Jordan's 1948 takeover of Eastern Palestine, Israel also "regarded Jordan as the only interlocutor in the negotiations over the West Bank" (p. 48). What emerged between 1967 and the Intifada, he argues, was a cooperative arrangement between these two entities which precluded and dampened Israel's interest in concluding a permanent peace. The informality ofthis policy arose from the absence of an Israeli consensus on the future of the occupied territories. He lists four Israeli positions which emerged following the fall ofthe West Bank. First, there was Moshe Dayan and Shimon Peres' "functionalist approach," which advocated the policy of"open bridges" towards Jordan in the absence of a formal peace treaty. The second position, the "territorialist" school of Yigal Allon, later supported by Yitzhak Rabin, called for continued Israeli control over the uninhabited areas of the West Bank in order to safeguard Israel's security. Menachem Begin, on the other hand, advocated the "annexationist" school while still a leader ofthe Gahal bloc. Begin's advocacy ofthis position stemmed from his view of the West Bank as part ofEretz Yisrael. Finally, there was the "reconciliationist" school 122 SHOFAR Summer 1999 Vol. 17, No.4 championed by the then foreign minister Abba Eban and dovish members of the Labor Party, as well as Meretz and other smaller leftist groups. These called for the return of much ofthe West Bank. to Jordan while maintaining small areas for defensive purposes. In the end, what prevailed was the policy of open bridges, which Israel hoped would ease the humanitarian and economic suffering of the Palestinians and prevent their gravitation towards the PLO. Jordan became also an administrative partner with Israel, managing the former civil administrative infrastructure and the Islamic legal and charitable systems. A period of "defacto peace" developed during which negotiations often took place face to face or through third parties. Among the many issues which came under discussion were the return of the 1967 refugees, dividing the waters of the Yarmuk River, and the Bank. Agreement of 1986. All ofthis, nevertheless, did not prevent the Jordanian monarch from searching for a way ofretrieving the West Bank.. Lukacs explains that what the King shared...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 121-123
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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