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Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations Hardcover – September 7, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1844673667 ISBN-10: 1844673669 Edition: First Edition, 1st Printing

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; First Edition, 1st Printing edition (September 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844673669
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844673667
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Shlaim (Lion of Jordan), an Israeli army veteran and international relations professor at Oxford University, offers a penetrating critique of Zionism in these reviews and essays collected from the last 30 years. He focuses on the three main watersheds—Israel's establishment, the Six Day War of 1967 and the Oslo Accords of 1993 and offers valuable commentary on current scholarship—saving his sharpest criticism for Benny Morris, a former colleague in Israel's school of new historians, a group who made their name by refuting early historical accounts of Israel's creation and the displacement of Palestinians. But while he illuminates unfamiliar corners and characters in the Arab-Israeli impasse, such as a Syrian dictator who briefly pursued peace before getting swept from power and executed, Shlaim too often lets his politics seep into his work, omitting important details that should shape the debate: he describes Professor Norman Finkelstein as merely a well-known critic of Israel, ignoring Finkelstein's rather incendiary comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany. Shlaim's book is an important one, but some readers might think that he gives short-shrift to the Israeli side of this divisive debate. (Oct.)
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“Avi Shlaim is the sort of historian every country needs. An exposer of national myths, the supreme scholar of Arab-Israeli negotiations.”—Philip Mansel, Spectator

“Not often today do we find historians who are this honest and this bleak and this able—for some reason, I think here of T. S. Eliot’s essays—to express truth so simply.”—Robert Fisk, Independent

“Provides even the hardened student with some new perspectives.”—The Economist

“Noted historian Shlaim presents a collection of hard-hitting pieces about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict....Shlaim is an important, sage, reasoned voice on the course of Israeli-Palestinian relations.”—Kirkus Reviews

“One of the best and most illuminating accounts of Arab-Israeli relations in years.”—Foreign Affairs

“Fascinating ... Shlaim presents compelling evidence for a re-evaluation of traditional Israeli history.”—New York Times Book Review

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Human who wants to learn on November 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The major theme of Avi Shlaim's previous book, 'The Iron Wall', was that Israel has throughout its history readily resorted to military force rather than engaging in meaningful diplomacy. In Avi's 'Israel and Palestine' he analyzes four portions of history, including (as he calls them) 1948 and beyond, to Oslo and beyond, the breakdown of the peace process, and perspectives. What I found most appealing about this particular text was Avi's discussion and analysis of literature written by scholars, historical figures, as well as popular figures. This includes, but it not limited to, Nur Masalha, Ilan Pappe, Itamar Rabinovich, Benny Morris, Asher Susser, Ian Black, George and Douglas Ball, Fouad Ajami, Hanan Ashrawi, Meron Benvenisti, Colin Shindler, Moshe Arens, Yitzhak Rabin, Benjamin Netanyahu, Bernard Wasserstein, Dennis Ross, Yossi Beilin, Norman Finkelstein, Bauch Kimmerling, and Edward Said. If some of these names are not familiar to you, I encourage you to look them up. You will uncover that Shlaim is striving to provide detailed scholarly accounts of each individual and their contributions to the interpretation of history with regard to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. And, as always, Shlaim's use of primary sources is extremely well done.

Please, anyone who wishes to understand the conflict, read and learn. Most people (including myself) are not capable of reading the primary literature. But at least analyze the work of those that dedicate their entire lives to history and scholarship.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A. Menon on December 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It goes without saying that the situation of Israel and Palestine is one of the most contentious political, ethnic, social problems that brings out the extremes of emotions for even those with several degrees of separation from the problem. One can notice that from the reviews one encounters on literature for one group or another is praised emphatically by sympathizers and bashed by the opposition, usually irrespective of the content. That being said, moving onto this book, it is an important and illuminating read.

It is important to note that this book intends to be a fairly complete overview of the conflict, its origins and evolution. It focuses on some aspects more than others and is not a complete analysis of any particular point in time (in the sense of discussing opposition and rebuttals and re-rebuttals etc) but the book essentially assumes no prior knowledge. The author starts with the foundations of the formation of Israel, the motivations both from global political perspectives as well as zionist perspective and the local arab perspective. Avi starts out by describing the situation as one in which there were shaky foundations, with English politics being contradictory and eventually leading to a Jewish priority. This shakiness is attributed to foreign powers and their inconsistent approach rather than Israeli subversiveness. It is an important distinction that helps formulate the authors underlying belief which is that the state was founded for a people with from some veil of ignorance the strongest requirement for a sovereign state at the expense of an existing population.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on December 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Avi Shlaim, professor of international relations at Oxford University, is the author of The iron wall, the best book on Israel's relations with its neighbours. This erudite work is a collection of articles that were originally published in the Journal of Palestine Studies and the London Review of Books.

Part 1 comprises ten articles on the 1948 war and after, Part 2 ten articles on the Oslo Accord of September 1993 and beyond, Part 3 five articles on the breakdown of the peace process, and Part 4 five articles looking at the current situation from various perspectives. He identifies three main watersheds, each the subject of heated debate: the founding of Israel, the 6-Day war of June 1967 and the Oslo Accord.

Israeli governments usually oppose a Palestinian state and a return to its 1967 borders, even though, as Shlaim argues, ending the occupation of the West Bank would enhance Israel's security. The Oslo Accord, negotiated by Israelis and Palestinians, with virtually no US or EU involvement, was a great step forward towards creating a Palestinian state. But tragically Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his successor Ehud Olmert wrecked the Accord, as Shlaim shows.

Shlaim recognises that the Iraq war had `no solid basis in international law' and that the invasion did not help to resolve the Israel/Palestine conflict or promote democracy in the Middle East. You don't end one illegal occupation by starting another.

Shlaim argues that Israel's brutal military occupation of Gaza was `deliberate de-development'. The USA and the EU helped the Israeli state by imposing sanctions on Gaza, not on the occupier but on the occupied.
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