Bernard Avishai teaches political economy at Dartmouth College and business at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is the author of The Tragedy of Zionism, among other books. He was made a Guggenheim fellow in 1987.


Israel: The Divisions of ‘Unity’

For Americans who have been disheartened listening to Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir speak for Israel during the past seven years, the visit of Shimon Peres in October must have been something of a relief. In Washington Peres talked of a plan for Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon. Instead of …

Jordan: Looking for an Opening

“How can Israeli soldiers fight a ten-year-old boy who wants to die? Or a teen-ager at the wheel of an exploding truck—smiling because he knows that in ten seconds he will be in Heaven? This is the generation I am afraid of!” The speaker, though she had just come from …

Can Begin Be Stopped?

Is the Reagan plan dead? On April 10, King Hussein announced that Jordan would neither act “separately nor in lieu of anybody else in Middle East peace negotiations.” This has seriously undermined hopes that President Reagan’s call on September 1 for Palestinian self-rule in association with Jordan would revive the …

Looking Over Jordan

Last September President Reagan called for “self-government by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in association with Jordan.” He did not refer to the PLO except to acknowledge its forced “evacuation” of Beirut. For a while Reagan’s proposals seemed to be having some success, notwithstanding Prime Minister Begin’s immediate …

The Road to Disaster

West Bank Story

by Rafik Halabi, translated by Ina Friedman
“There are two camps on the West Bank today,” the Bethlehem journalist Jamil Hamad told Rafik Halabi after the Camp David accords were signed: “PLO supporters and PLO members.” In West Bank Story, his chronicle of the relations between Israeli authorities and local Palestinian leaders, Halabi reluctantly arrives at much …


Confederation: The One Possible Israel-Palestine Solution

Palestinian boys playing soccer against the backdrop of the Israeli separation barrier that bisects their school playground in East Jerusalem, 2006

The peacemaking of the Oslo Accords is stuck over the same linked problems that thwarted peacemaking during the previous generation: terrorism, settlements, Jerusalem, borders, the economy, and refugees. It seems vain to blame only leaders or “narratives” for the impasse, and not the way peacemakers have framed the peace that is notionally to be made. “One state” is a mirage. But so, now, is “two states”—unless this portends an overt structure of independence and interdependence: in effect, a confederation. No other arrangement can work.