Broken Covenant, by Moshe Arens
By now, the fact that George Bush came into office determined to cut Israel down to size, both figuratively and literally, is reasonably well-known. So, too, is the fact that neither he nor his Secretary of State, James Baker, was overly scrupulous in the means employed to accomplish this goal. What is far from well-known, however, is that the Bush administration worked closely with the opposition Israeli Labor party to undercut Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. This startling revelation is at the heart of Broken Covenant, Moshe Arens’s remarkably candid book.
As Foreign Minister in Israel’s coalition National Unity government, the Lithuanian-born, MIT-educated Arens was a key participant in the drama he describes. Among other things, he was responsible for Israel’s May 1989 peace initiative, which called for democratic elections in the occupied territories as a first step toward creating limited autonomy for the Palestinians. Arens pushed hard for this initiative because he believed that—with the intifada raging—the status quo in the territories was incompatible with “the norms and standards by which Israeli society lives,” and because he feared that the new Bush administration might endorse an international conference that would impose harsh sanctions on Israel. It was the latter consideration, according to Arens, that led a reluctant Shamir to embrace the elections plan.
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