The late and much missed Tanya Reinhart wrote this 2002 analysis at height of the second intifada during the darkest days of the violence. It is extremely solid and many of her arguments here have been borne out by more recent events. Although one should always be wary of making predictions, many of her warnings have — unfortunately — come to pass. First of all, her deconstruction of Israeli war crimes, quoting almost entirely from Israeli media sources is devastating. She proves here how — contrary to the Israeli propaganda line, accepted in the western media — at its outset, the second intifada was in fact an unarmed, spontaneous, civilian uprising. The reaction of the Israeli army — systematically firing on unarmed demonstrators, killing dozens before the Palestinians fired a single shot — escalated the situation into an armed confrontation. Critically, she points out that the first suicide bombing inside Israel did not take place until over a month into the intifada: November 2nd, 2000. On October 4th (a mere week into the intifada), the Palestinian death toll already stood at 60. Another of her key points is that, far from being the “spontaneous defence against terrorism” of the Israeli propaganda line, the re-invasion of the Palestinian Authority areas had been long planned by Israel. Again, she convincingly backs this up with evidence from the Israeli media.
She also demolishes the myth of Camp David, showing that it was Barak that effectively destroyed the mainstream Israeli peace consensus, not Sharon. The best section of the book is the part in chapter 9 titled The Two Poles in Israel’s Politics. Here, she irrefutably shows how mainstream Israeli politics is in fact divided not between “hawks” and “doves” but between the road of apartheid under the guise of endless negotiations (the Alon-Oslo road) and outright ethnic cleansing (often with the slogan “Jordan is Palestine” — Sharon).
Here, she quotes from an article she wrote in 1994, which seems amazingly prescient in light of the recent rise of Hamas: “From the start, it has been possible to identify two Israeli conceptions that underline the Oslo process. One is that it will reduce the cost of the occupation, using a Palestinian patronage regime, with Arafat as the senior cop responsible for the security of Israel. The other is that the process should lead to the collapse of Arafat and the PLO. The humiliation of Arafat, and the amplification of his surrender, will gradually lead to loss of popular support. Consequently, the PLO will collapse, or enter power conflicts. Thus, the Palestinian society will loose its secular leaderships and institutions.”