Dear Friends,

Frequently we see books on the history and politics of Israel and 
often, although in Hebrew, they are significant in terms of Mid-East 
history and international relations. One such important new book is 
'Ha-Yad she-kaf'a,' 'the Frozen Hand,' by Uri Sagie. The book is 
primarily about the Shepherdstown peace talks held between Israel and 
Syria, in January 2000. The talks were held under US auspices in this 
small West Virginia town. They were hosted by President Bill Clinton 
and attended by Sec. of State Madeline Albright, Sandy Berger, Dennis 
Ross, Martin Indyk, and Farouk al-Shara, leading the Syrian 
delegation. Ehud Barak led the Israeli delegation which included 
David Levy (FM) and Uri Sagie.

The book is thoughtful, full of important facts and even maps. The 
book includes past history including the relationship with Ehud Barak 
prior to his becoming Prime Minister and an assessment of the 
aftermath of Shepherdstown and Israeli Syrian relations.

One of the underlying themes of the book is that there are technical 
details and 'the big picture,' not always seen by the advisors. Uri 
Sagie a distinguished Israeli General and former head of military 
intelligence, points out that advisors and military leaders told PM 
Menachem Begin of the dangers of withdrawal and peace with Egypt, 
and  at a critical moment Begin said thank you but 'I have decided to 
make peace with Egypt.'  The author beleives that this bold vision is 
necessary and indicates that it was lacking at these critical 
negotiations. The 'frozen hand,' therefore was Ehud Barak's 
unwillingness to seize the opportunity, according to his view.

Now, in the light of hindsight perhaps this view seems weak and less 
convincing. After all, former Syrian dictator, Hafez al Assad died 
that year in (June) 2000. The authority, legitimacy and 
sustainability of such a peace looks doubtful. If the author credits 
the bravery and wisdom of a Begin to make peace should it not follow 
that the unwillingness to adopt or revive a questionable deal by 
another Prime Minister in different circumstances should likewise be 
respected? The book is an important work. Its points are worth 
studying and have wide, even worldwide implications. However, one 
can't escape the feeling that the author and perhaps other advisors 
and leaders feel compelled to make bold moves and gestures so as to 
capture their moment in history, as might have been the case for the 
author, Uri Sagie if a peace deal had been signed between Israel and Syria.

Nevertheless, the book is serious significant first person history. 
It  marks one of the milestone's in Israel's history and Mid-East 
politics. It provides a vantage point on negotiations, decision 
making in Israel, Syria and the US. Published By Yediot Hemed, isbn 
978-965-511-477-5,  Cat.77650 $34.00

Another title not to be missed, also categorized under Israel and 
Zionism is David Kroyanker's latest, 'ha-Meshulash ha-yerushalmi..,' 
'the Jerusalem Triangle an urban biography.' While, his five other 
related books dealt with research and history of Jerusalem 
neighborhoods, this deals with a triangle urban space at the 
crossroads and heart of Jerusalem, namely Ben Yehuda, King George and 
Jaffa, streets. The book is glossy and has photos and illustrations 
but is not a coffee table book. It is a professional and scholarly 
analysis of architecture, history and culture in Jerusalem from the 
(late) Ottoman period, through the British mandate in Palestine and 
particularly from 1948-2011. The bibliography, notes and index are 44 
pages. Published by Keter, isbn 978-965-07-1948-7. Cat. 77778 $68.00

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Happy, 
Healthy and Peaceful New Year from all of us at Jerusalem Books ltd.


Jeff Spitzer

Jerusalem Books ltd.

POB 26190, Jerusalem 91261, Israel

Tel: 972-2-642-6576  Fax: 972-2-643-3580


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