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Last modified: Monday, October 11, 2004

Ambassador Dennis Ross to tell "inside story" of Middle East peace process

Ambassador Dennis Ross

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- As the nation's chief negotiator in the Middle East peace process from 1988-2000, Ambassador Dennis Ross was an up-close witness to the round-the-clock meetings, backroom dealings and broken promises that constituted the highly charged Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Ross has unveiled the dramatic and secretive nature of that peace process in his acclaimed new book, The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace. He will discuss the book during a lecture on Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. in the auditorium at Willkie Residence Center on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Ross' visit to Bloomington is presented by the Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program and co-sponsored by the IU departments of Political Science and History.

"The present situation in the Middle East is awfully serious and disheartening," said Alvin Rosenfeld, professor of Jewish Studies and director of the Institute for Jewish Culture and the Arts. "If he (Ross) gives an honest talk, it should be a sobering analysis from a key diplomat who will probably try to look into the future and tell us what still lies ahead."

Ross was the nation's point man on the Middle East peace process in the presidential administrations of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He was instrumental in helping Israelis and Palestinians reach the 1995 Interim Agreement. He also successfully brokered the Hebron Accord in 1997, facilitated the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty and worked to bring Israel and Syria together.

In his book, which was published in August, Ross recounts the efforts he and others made to bring peace to the troubled region, from the time he joined the State Department in 1988 to the final days of the Clinton administration when negotiations collapsed. He discusses the summits at Madrid, Oslo, Geneva and Camp David, the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, and the personalities at the heart of the talks, including Rabin, Clinton, Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres, Yasir Arafat and Hafez al-Asad. He also explains the central issues in the struggle for peace.

Former President Bill Clinton has described The Missing Peace as a "definitive and gripping account of the sometimes exhilarating, often tortured twists and turns in the Middle East peace process. No one worked harder for peace than Dennis. He gave it everything he had and served our nation very well. Now he has provided us with a rich account of what happened that is essential to understanding both the past and the possible paths to the future."

A scholar and diplomat with more than two decades of experience in Soviet and Middle East policy, Ross worked closely with secretaries of state James Baker, Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright. Prior to his service as special Middle East coordinator under President Clinton, Ross served as director of the State Department's Policy Planning office in the Bush administration. In that position, he played a prominent role in the development of U.S. policy toward the former Soviet Union, the unification of Germany and its integration into NATO, arms control negotiations, and the development of the 1991 Gulf War coalition.

Ross was awarded the Presidential Medal for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service by President Clinton, and Baker and Albright presented him with the State Department's highest award. He is a frequent contributor to the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and New York Times.