In many ways this 600-page work can be characterized as a series of micro-histories, ranging from Iran-Contra to the Golan Heights, in which personalities and their idiosyncrasies determine results. Domestic pressures caused PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat to change tone and message continually in order to protect his standing during the Oslo and Camp David processes. While Ehud Barak's "social autism," lack of warmth, and inflexibility contributed to the failure of the peace plan he himself had initiated, Arafat's penchant for playing the members of his team off against each other created internal confrontations that trumped negotiating strategies. Itzak Shamir turned tail and rejected his own proposals, having sold them to the Americans, because of pressure within his own party.Most fascinating is [Lawrence Freedman]' s discussion of presidential proclivities and their influence on crisis management. In 1977 Moshe D ay an, Israel's then-foreign minister, threatened [Jimmy Carter] by saying that he would mobilize Jewish opinion in the United States against the president if Carter persisted with the envisaged Geneva peace conference. Instead of responding assertively, the president "leaned over backwards to be reassuring, accommodating, pleasant, and gave Dayan the impression he was not very tough" (52). Dayan followed through with his promise of frequent transatlantic trips. No Geneva conference took place.
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