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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Embarrasment Unto Nations, 24 Jan 2010
S Wood (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Road Map to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine Since 2003 (Paperback)
The late Israeli writer and academic Tanya Reinhart has been a long term principled critic of Israel's expansionist and oppressive policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. "The Road Map to Nowhere" charts the direction that Israeli policy took from late 2002 onwards, the point her earlier book (Israel/Palestine: How to End the 1948 War) ended, as well as the Palestinian reaction to those policies. These issues are covered with an eye on the United States sponsored Road Map which promised to bring about a Palestinian state by 2005.

Initially it deals with a the ceasefire of summer 2003 and the Sharon governments response, namely targeted assassinations. Reinhart provides evidence of this sequence happening on more than one occasion: Palestinian offers of ceasefires and even actual ceasefires being followed, sooner or later, by an armed response from the Israeli Defence Forces. She also charts the Sharon governments (backed by the United States with the E.U. trailing behind) attempts to exploit differences within the Palestinian camp which bore fruit during the fighting between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza during which Fatah received material Israeli support.

The Gaza "withdrawal" is also put under the spotlight, Reinhart again marshals the evidence to suggest that the sincerity of Sharon's commitment to follow through was not as straight forward as was accepted at the time. She points out that the post-election Bush II government, mired in Iraq, had military sanctions that were put in place after disputes with Israel regarding military sales to China. The sanctions were only finally removed once disengagement was well under way much to the discomfort of the Israelis. Further evidence in this direction was the foot dragging of the Sharon government with regard to the necessary measures to compensate and re-house the 9,000 or so Israelis who had been settled in Gaza despite around half of them being keen to leave Gaza and start a new life in Israel proper as soon as the announcement was made. The post-"withdrawal" conditions in Ghetto Gaza are also described as well as the Israeli siege, attacks and the response from the resistance in Gaza.

The story of the Palestinian election and the Hamas victory are told, the later being put into the context of Fatah's corruption and the not unreasonable belief amongst Palestinians that the Fatah/PLO dominated Palestinian Authority, or elements within it, were to an extent collaborating with the Israelis. The Israel response to the Hamas victory is also covered: loud voices complaining of the violent nature of Hamas before launching a number of violent attacks: all this while Hamas are making statements about talks and ceasefires. Orwell couldn't dream it up.

The final part of the book covers the Israeli building of the "security" fence, ostensibly built to protect Israel proper from attack, Reinhart makes it's real purpose eloquently clear not least by including a map of the walls route north of Jerusalem. It's purpose is clearly annexation: a solid line of intent drawn in concrete across the occupied West Bank dividing around 400,000 Palestinians from their land and from each other. Once extended to the Jordan valley it is forecast to eat up 40% of the occupied West Bank. The declaration of its illegality by the International Court of Justice seems no more than a public relations problem to an Israeli establishment that has long been shy of International Law.

The last section of the book documents the actuality of the wall for a number of Palestinian villages north of Jerusalem and includes many heart warming scenes of real cooperation between Israeli citizens, the International Solidarity Movement and the Palestinian villagers in which the author reports on at first hand. Again the depressing issue of collusion between the Fatah controlled West Bank "authorities" and the Israelis rise to the fore. The response of the I.D.F. escalates with the success of the peaceful protesters from tear gas to rubber bullets, mounted charges of baton wielding soldiers to the shooting of demonstrators with live ammunition.

A valuable work that my short overview only identifies the main themes of, and an essential book for anyone interested in what happened between 2003 and 2006 in detail. It is a thoroughly sourced from mainly Israeli sources, written in clear comprehensible language and deserves to be widely read.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant study of the way to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians, 14 Jun 2007
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Road Map to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine Since 2003 (Paperback)
Tanya Reinhart was a professor of philosophy at Tel Aviv University until her recent untimely death. This book examines the last four years of Israel's 40-year illegal occupation of Palestine. She shows how, under the pretence of ending its occupation, the Israeli state has reimposed military control of the occupied territories.

Gaza and the West Bank are a system of prisons, sealed enclaves. The Israeli state controls all movements of goods, services and people. It plans to retain control of these enclaves, from the outside, retaining the army's `freedom of action'.

This is in defiance of the two-thirds of the Israeli people who have consistently backed ending the occupation. 100,000-strong demonstrations have demanded, "Leave the Territories - Save the Country."

Reinhart describes the Palestinians' struggle against the illegal Separation Wall, which the Israeli state wants to be its permanent, unilaterally-decided border. The Wall annexes 40% of the West Bank. If completed, it would rob 400,000 Palestinians of their land and livelihoods.

On 25 June 2003, Palestinian organisations, including Hamas, announced that they would cease fire for three months. The Israeli and US governments immediately responded by rejecting the ceasefire and demanding the `dismantling' of Hamas and other organisations; the Israeli army killed two Palestinians, including a woman. After six weeks' ceasefire, the Israeli state resumed its policy of assassinations, killing 14 Hamas leaders in the first half of August 2003. The EU helped by placing Hamas' political leadership on its list of terrorist organisations.

In February 2004, Sharon unveiled his disengagement plan, which was a feint to cover building the Wall. In September 2005, the British Presidency of the EU demanded that the Palestinian Authority rein in the militants, while allowing Israel full freedom of action, saying, "The Presidency recognises Israel's right to act in self-defence." This is the formula that the USA usually employs to back the Israeli state's assassinations policy and aggressions.

In January 2006, Hamas won the elections. Israel, the EU and the USA at once demanded that it recognise Israel, accept all existing agreements and renounce violence. They did not make similar demands of Israel, yet Israel does not recognise Palestine, respect existing agreements or renounce violence.

There is a road to peace, a simple, unilateral solution available to Israel - end the occupation.
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The Road Map to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine Since 2003
The Road Map to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine Since 2003 by Tanya Reinhart (Paperback - 28 July 2006)
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