Yossi Alpher's Death Tango: Ariel Sharon, Yasser Arafat and Three Fateful Days in March
"Anyone seeking to understand how Israelis and Palestinians traded the hopes of Oslo for something approaching hopelessness is well-advised to read this book. With penetrating analysis and elegant prose, Yossi Alpher has told the gripping story of three days nearly two decades ago that continue to haunt would-be peacemakers. Yossi’s faithful readers will not be disappointed with his latest effort."
Ambassador Frederic C. Hof, Bard College
"A riveting account of the crucial days in March 2002 when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was profoundly changed for the worse. The peace camp has never recovered from those wrenching days, and we live now without any hope of a just settlement. Alpher is a highly respected expert who has spent decades studying this conflict from both sides."
Bruce Riedel, Director of the Brookings Intelligence Project
"A critical assessment of a key period in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict never before presented in such detail. The best and most capable players at the executive and political levels proved unable to forge any resolution, final or partial, because both parties continued to maintain an insurmountable gulf between themselves. This is a MUST read for anyone daring to tackle the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and of Israel-Arab relations in general."
Efraim Halevy, former Head of the Mossad (1998-2002)
Yossi's New Book:
Oraib Khader and Avi Bar-On are youngish Palestinian and Israeli bachelors with security experience, readiness to do business with one another, a shared fondness for women and money, and total cynicism about the lack of peace between their two peoples.
Oraib and Avi can never become true friends: the cultural and political gaps are too wide. But as they confront a failed peace process and a bleak peace future, they readily become business partners: shady business that exploits a lot of naïve international peace aspirations.
As Oraib sums up on a visit to Sarpsborg, Norway, where the ultimately-failed Oslo peace talks were held, “There is a lesson here for those who still doggedly and hopelessly pursue a two-state solution in the Middle East. Get smart. Get out of the Israeli-Palestinian peace business. Step back and let the Jews and Arabs screw one another while making money.”
Dec 5 2022
Q. The First Intifada transpired from late 1987 to 1993-94. The Second, 2000-2005. Is there some law of nature, or of the conflict, that dictates a Third Intifada now?
A. No law of nature, but lots of worrisome signs and developments. These begin with the weakening of Palestinian Authority rule in the West Bank as PA leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) ages, and conclude with the fascist, racist nature of Israel’s emerging new government, particularly where West Bank settlement and Jewish ‘values’ are concerned.
In between, there are lots of less compelling signs that, taken together, also become compelling. Gaza-based Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are concentrating their energies, with Iranian backing, on cultivating violence against Israelis on the West Bank while maintaining relative quiet in the Strip. They have ostensibly overriding economic and social reasons for quiet in Gaza: the income and stability generated by the employment of nearly 20,000 Gazan day-laborers in Israel. Remarkably, senior Hamas official Mahmoud a-Zahar stated in October, “I am against conducting periodic wars in Gaza [against Israel], but there must be periodic wars in the West Bank.”
Even without encouragement and bankrolling from Hamas and PIJ, or possibly with their behind-the-scenes backing, we are witnessing spontaneous efforts among young Palestinians on the West Bank to create new, ostensibly ‘unaffiliated’ paramilitary and terrorist units: first the ‘Lions’ Den’ in Nablus, and more recently the “Jenin Brigade’.
Not surprisingly, the level of violence has risen sharply; the IDF has killed more Palestinians on the West Bank in the past year than since 2016; 12 over the past week alone. The year 2022 has thus far witnessed a tripling of live fire incidents on the West Bank compared to 2021, with the vast majority involving attacks on the Israeli military, not civilians.