"I swear by all that’s Holy, I will never come anywhere near the Palestine problem once I liberate myself from this trap." Ralph Bunche wrote these lines to his wife in 1949, during the armistice talks on Rhodes. A year later, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his success in ending the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
Ralph Bunche and the Arab-Israeli Conflict provides a comprehensive study of Ralph Bunche’s diplomatic activities on the Palestine question. Bunche was at the centre of the story from the referral of the issue to the United Nations in 1947 until the signing of the armistice agreements that ended the war. He began as advisor to UNSCOP and then headed the secretariat of the commission tasked with implementing partition. Later, after serving as the senior aide to UN mediator Folke Bernadotte, he was appointed to replace the Count after the latter’s assassination. Using extensive archival materials (some of it revealed here for the first time), this book addresses central questions, such as the relationship between Bunche’s African American identity and his diplomatic endeavours, and the complexities of his outlook on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Through research and careful analysis, it uncovers how Ralph Bunche managed to bridge the gaps between Israel and Arab states.
This book will be of interest to students and scholars of Middle Eastern History, particularly Israeli History, as well as Political Science and Diplomacy.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part I: Partition, War, and Mediation Chapter 1. The Road to the Partition Resolution Chapter 2. The Partition Resolution and its Failed Implementation Chapter 3. With Bernadotte Chapter 4. The "Acting Mediator" at the Paris Assembly Part II: The Armistice Talks Chapter 5: Conciliation Commission or Mediator? Chapter 6: The Talks between Israel and Egypt Chapter 7: The Talks between Israel and Lebanon and between Israel and Jordan Chapter 8: The Talks between Israel and Syria Chapter 9 The End of the Mission and an Assessment of Bunche’s Contribution to the Success of the Talks Conclusion
Elad Ben-Dror is senior lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Israel. His research focuses on various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict, chiefly the UN's involvement in the late 1940s.