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118 SHOFAR Summer 1996 Vol. 14, No.4 pre-election polls all contribute to our understanding of how the medium can, indeed, become part of the message, and how the act of communication can become almost as significant as what is being communicated. No study of Israeli elections would be complete without some discussion of electoral reform, and this volume ends with two very good chapters on the subject. Tamar Hermann discusses "The Campaign for Political Reform," and shows how political reform became a subject on the political agenda and how supporters kept it visible and in the public eye. A final essay by Gideon Doron and Barry Kay discusses on a more theoretical level the types of reform that have been considered in the past, and what their results might have been. like other books of this type, the styles of writing and analysis vary as one works from chapter to chapter through the text, with some chapters being more theoretical, some more empirical, and many written in different styles. However, this being said, all of the contributions are very good about keeping the focus on the 1992 election and what made it special. Could the book be improved? It would have been nice to have a concluding chapter that tied together the various themes introduced in the fourteen chapters, and it would have been nice to have a cumulative bibliography, or "for further reading" section at the end of the book. Overall, however, this is a very readable book representing the efforts of a number of the very best scholars in the field today, and students of Israeli politics will want to own a copy of this book for the comparison it provides with this year's election. Gregory S. Mahler Department of Political Science University of Mississippi Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict Since 1967, byWilliam B. Quandt. Washington: The Brookings Institution and Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. 612 pp. $38.95 (c); $15.95 (P). One is tempted to say that William Quandt's Peace Process, thorough and exhaustive that it may be, has been eclipsed by events, specifically the mutual recognition and subsequent routinization of negotiations between Israel and the Palestine liberation Organization. But that is not the case at all. The radical change in the peace process that occurred after the election Book Reviews 119 victory ofYitzhak Rabin's Labor Party in 1992 decisively ended the 25-year period that began with the Six-Day War and included seemingly endless indirect negotiations between Arabs and Israelis and the notable triumph of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty. In a sense Quandt had the good fortune to time the end of his research to coincide with the end of a clearly identifiable period. The peace process that Quandt details for us was one in which the United States, and specifically its presidents, played a critical role, often taking the lead in producing new ideas and proposals. It is a measure of the magnitude of the shift that occurred after 1992 that Israel and the PlO negotiated without U.S. involvement. But for the previous quarter century American presidents clearly took the initiative, as Quandt so ably demonstrates . Perhaps because of the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel, or perhaps because of the obligations incumbent on a superpower that takes its role seriously, or perhaps because its own interests were at stake, the United States undertook responsibilities for Middle East peacemaking that no other nation could or would. Hence it is reasonable to chronicle these vitally important events from the American perspective. Nevertheless we do miss the perspectives of the Israelis and the various Arab actors. In any event, even after the 1993 Israeli-PlO Declaration of Principles, it is important to have an authoritative record of what went before, at least as seen from Washington. It has been well understood for years that each U.S. president from Nixon onward tried to produce some kind of innovative contribution to the peace process, usually during his first year in office. This is the time when presidents are best able to accomplish something, whether domestically or internationally. By the second year there...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 118-121
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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