An all-star cast of sixteen academics, all but one either Palestinian or Israeli, attended a 1994 conference at Hebrew University; The PLO and Israel memorializes their deliberations. The book bears close attention because, with only some exceptions (fine chapters by Hillel Frisch, Galia Golan, Meir Litvak, Shaul Mishal, Barry Rubin), one of Israel's leading institutions has issued a document that for all intents and purposes serves as Palestinian propaganda. In this it represents the thinking of Israel's elite.

The apologetics begin in the subtitle, where the main question roiling Israel public life (are negotiations with the Palestinians leading to peace or not?) is flat-out assumed (of course it is). They continue in the introduction by Sela, where he deems the post-1967 PLO "an authentic Palestinian national organization," refers to "intransigent Israeli hostility" to the PLO (but not PLO hostility to Israel), and adopts such PLO terminology as the "Palestinian revolution."

From here the drumbeat goes on. Muhammad Muslih learnedly details the PLO's "numerous peace initiatives" between 1974 and 1988. Manuel Hassassian's chapter on PLO changes in the thirty years to 1994 is subtitled "a democracy in the making." The editors assure us that the PLO now "adheres to the norms of international legitimacy." Eyad El Sarraj describes the "sort of ecstasy" induced by the intifada. And Baruch Kimmerling finds in the election of Binyamin Netanyahu proof that the Israeli Jews were not "ripe" for "a reasonable settlement" with the Palestinians.