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Arab-Israeli Diplomacy under Carter: The U.S., Israel and the Palestinians

Arab-Israeli Diplomacy under Carter: The U.S., Israel and the Palestinians
Jorgen Jensehaugen

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The history of U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East is marked by numerous stark failures and a few ephemeral successes. Jimmy Carter's short-lived Middle East diplomatic strategy constitutes an exception in vision and approach. In this extensive and long-overdue analysis of Carter's Middle East policy, Jorgen Jensehaugen sheds light on this important and unprecedented chapter in U.S. regional diplomacy. Against all odds, including the rise of Menachem Begin's right-wing government in Israel, Carter broke new ground by demanding the involvement of the Palestinians in Arab-Israeli diplomatic negotiations. This book assesses the president's `comprehensive peace' doctrine, which aimed to encompass all parties of the conflict, and reveals the reasons why his vision ultimately failed.

Largely based on analysis of newly-declassified diplomatic files and American, British, Palestinian and Israeli archival sources, this book is the first comprehensive examination of Jimmy Carter's engagement with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. At a time when U.S. involvement in the region threatens to exacerbate tensions further, Arab-Israeli Diplomacy under Carter provides important new insights into the historical roots of the ongoing unrest. The book will be of value to Middle East and International Relations scholars, and those researching U.S diplomacy and the Carter Administration.

Table of Contents


1. President Carter and the Palestinians

2. US Presidents and the Palestinians

3. The Comprehensive Approach

4. Clinging to Comprehensive Peace

5. The Jerusalem bombshell

6. The Torturous Road to Camp David

7. Camp David and the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty

8. Where do we go now, but nowhere?

9. A Failed Ambition


Author Info

Jorgen Jensehaugen is Associate Professor of Modern History at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. He holds a PhD in history from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and has previously worked as a researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). He has published extensively on the Arab-Israeli conflict, including in the journals The International History Review and British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies.


'Jorgen Jensehaugen has provided an original piece of work both in his use of US archival material and his examination of the way the Carter Administration dealt with the Palestinian issue and the matter of Palestinian participation in negotiations. Indeed, this work fills a void, enlightening us on the inner workings of Carter's team regarding the conflict, while also highlighting the Palestinian aspect of the negotiations at that time (as distinct from the relatively large literature on Egyptian-Israeli relations of the same period). The volume provides new material and insights regarding deliberations within the Carter Administration prior to the Camp David talks. Moreover the author brings a wealth of supporting information and detail, analysing the factors involved in the decisions taken, and the individuals behind them. Truly a valuable contribution to our understanding of the history of American policy regarding the Palestinian issue.'
Galia Golan, Darwin Professor emerita, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; author of Israeli Peace Negotiations since 1967: Factors Behind the Breakthroughs and Failures (2014)

'This is a well-researched and expertly told account of the Carter administration's diplomatic efforts in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Jensehaugen has written one of the most compelling narratives of Jimmy Carter's pursuit of, and ultimate failure, to achieve comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace'
Asaf Siniver, Associate Professor of International Security, University of Birmingham

'Arab-Israeli Diplomacy under Carter is an original contribution to scholarship on U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East, offering a detailed study of a fundamentally misunderstood moment in the wider history of U.S. relations with Israel and the Palestinian question.'
Seth Anziska, Mohamed S. Farsi-Polonsky Lecturer in Jewish-Muslim Relations, University College London; author of Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo.

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: Library of Modern Middle East Studies

ISBN: 9781788310529
Publication Date: 29 Jun 2018
Number of Pages: 256
Height: 216
Width: 138

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