Golan, a professor of government at Haifa University, provides a detailed dissection of the various agreements that emerged from the Oslo negotiations (1993-2000). From the start of her book, she rejects the notion that the conflict might be intractable and, therefore, better suited to conflict management than diplomatic resolution. Instead, she attempts to show that the agreements provide a framework for an eventual peace and have in their own way brought the sides closer to that day—despite outbreaks of violence including one collapse into war. She argues by analogy that the 1979 Egyptian-Israel peace treaty has endured but even that agreement has not led to any reconciliation between the two peoples.
As a staunch and unrepentant advocate of the Oslo accords, Golan naturally favors further negotiations today with Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA). As a result, she treats the Oslo agreements and other signed diplomatic documents as evidence of what she is seeking to prove—a mutual desire for peace that is not actually present on the Palestinian side. Her methodology is to base a conception of peace on documents that have never been honored or implemented on the Palestinian side.
This is clearly deficient. Abbas's regime is filled with unremitting incitement to hatred and murder in its controlled media, mosques, schools, and youth camps, and the situation in Hamas-controlled Gaza is even worse. Also, it is hard to find evidence in the PA of any desire, let alone effort, to arrest terrorists and dismantle their organizations. On the contrary, dead terrorists (George Habash) are honored and freed ones (Samir Kuntar) feted.
Golan provides one telling example of the gulf between stated intentions and facts on the ground. She refers to the 1993 Letters of Mutual Recognition that preceded the Declaration of Principles in the first Oslo agreement as a "historic breakthrough" and "perhaps the only irreversible move in the whole process of mutual recognition." When PA officials from Abbas down have been saying openly in recent years that they will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, such claims clearly lack any firm basis.