Since 1967, the burning question of the Arab-Israel conflict has been, Will the Arabs accept the Jewish state's existence? Answering it has proven difficult. The September 13th accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) makes this issue all the more pressing. What do the Palestinians intend--a temporary cease-fire or a true peace? Have they had a change of heart or are they biding their time to strike again?
Rubin's timely Revolution Until Victory? a history of the PLO, provides an excellent guide to PLO intentions. In compact and readable form, he reliably reviews three decades' worth of PLO complexities. More than that, he breaks new ground by getting behind the PLO's external face--the personality of Yasir Arafat or the record of terror--and concentrating instead on its internal dynamics. Calling the PLO's structure "a central factor in shaping its destiny," 146 Rubin explains how relations between constituent groups and with outside forces molded its history. This approach allows him to make sense of much that had hitherto been mysterious, including the PLO's pattern of inconsistency, extremism, and self-defeat. It also permits him to hint at implications about its future course. In short, if you are prepared to read just one study about the elusive organization called the Palestine Liberation Organization, Revolution Until Victory? is the place to go.