ISBN 0-7453-1530-5. “Fateful Triangle – The United States, Israel & the Palestinians” written by Noam Chomsky. Published originally in 1983 by Pluto Press. This edition is an update published in 1999. 568 pages excluding Preface and Index. This is a big book. It is Chomsky’s defining opus on the Middle East yet you get the feeling he hardly breaks into a sweat. He has written on the plight of the Palestinians many times before, and afterwards, and sometimes quotes himself – such is the extent of his work on the topic. The fact that this book is already ten years out of date, by the time I read it, did somewhat put me off reading it in the first place. It is now 26 years since it was first written – an entire quarter century. Somehow I felt I would be reading a dull history text. Indeed the book does focus largely on quite “recent” events which, at that time, was the Israeli operation “Peace for Galilee”. This was the invasion of southern Lebanon. As with his other books, on this topic, (and others) we do get the minutiae detail of the suffering of the people being crushed by the Israeli (read U.S.) military machine. As he often reminds us Israel boasted the world’s fourth most powerful military machine – all backed by a nuclear deterrent. All of this Goliath pitched against one tiny David. However, reading this in March 2009 it all sounds so very familiar. You could just replace the Lebanon with Gaza and everything is just history repeating itself. Indeed, as we hear the excuses the Israeli military used for deliberately targeting foreign embassies (not to say the hospitals & clearly marked red cross facilities around Beirut) it sounds exactly like the same excuse being used in Gaza in December 2008 to defend the striking of UN facilities & schools. As usual though it is Chomsky’s utter contempt for American intellectuals and liberals that come shining through. He illustrates so many times that the frank denunciation of Israel’s appalling foreign policy and human rights record, so much a regular feature of Israeli news coverage, is so rarely copied in the USA. He reveals many times how so much that is written and spoken in the US amounts to nothing short of anti-Arab racism. He expects it of the Jewish writers but not the gentiles – who seem over-willing to simply ignore the wishes of the Palestinian people to be represented by the PLO. The PLO had made moves since the mid-1970’s to put forward a two-state solution however this was completely ignored by the powerbrokers who continued to maintain the fiction of Palestinian rejectionism for ten years until the truth became known. The truth is the USA and Israel simply stalled for time in the interest of expanding their settlements in the West Bank. They consistently rejected any form of peace and hid their intentions behind lies of Arab intransigence. Thus the Arab populations of the neighbouring countries had to endure an almost endless stream of everything from day-to-day indignities to military incursions and massacre of civilians. Indeed the shameful events in the Sabra & Shatila Refugee Camps figure highly here. Terrorism has been such a part of Israel’s history since its formation that the utter hypocrisy could form a new nation all by its self. For the Israeli’s to commit atrocity after atrocity and tell the west that it is merely defending itself from “terrorism” has become a sick joke. As even the Rabbi’s in Israel itself point out, to invoke the Holocaust as a reason to commit such acts is sacrilege. Creating another Warsaw Ghetto will not put right the wrong’s of the Nazis. It was Yitzhak Shamir who said “Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat.” Quite. As far as the US is concerned the massacre of civilians is just fine. As long as they are Arabs. This is probably not the Chomsky book for a newbie. Probably one for the completist but recommended nevertheless.