Juliana S. Peck, The Reagan Administration and the Palestine Question: The First Thousand Days (Washington, DC: Institute of Palestine Studies, 1984).
This book represents “an attempt to put into an orderly framework the Reagan Administration’s public record on issues related to the Palestinian question.” Peck first outlines what was left to Reagan by the Carter administration, then goes through Reagan’s early general perceptions, policies before and during the Lebanon invasion of 1982, and the Reagan peace plan. The individual chapters offer only a minimum of analysis, but the last chapter does document changes in Reagan’s perception of the region. Peck believes, for example, that during the siege of Beirut, the heavy civilian casualties caused the president “moral revulsion” and led him to determine that “something positive” must be done for the Palestinians. After the failure of the Reagan plan, due in part to the president’s refusal to view the PLO as anything but a terrorist organization, Reagan “seemed to lose his own incentive to pursue a settlement.” Despite this tendency toward explanations that are both banal and benign, Peck’s book is useful as a collected review of events through October 1983.