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Lords of the Land: The War for Israel's Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007 Hardcover – September 28, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books; (1 in number line) edition (September 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568583702
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568583709
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #500,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In this thorough and eye-opening book, Idith Zertal, a historian, and Akiva Eldar, a journalist, explain how a few tens of thousands of people bent the state to their purpose. Settlements were not on the official agenda after Israel's surprise capture of the Palestinian territories in 1967. But pressure from ardent young religious Zionists found a secular echo among military men, who came to see security benefits to having Israelis live in the West Bank." -- The Economist

"[The] authors are well-informed experts...Lords of the Land is richly detailed." -- The New York Times Book Review

About the Author


Professor Idith Zertal (Ph.D.) is a leading Israeli historian and essayist, the author of many books and articles on Jewish, Zionist and Israeli history. She has taught history and cultural studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. She has also been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago and at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and senior research fellow at research institutes in the United States, Europe and Israel. She currently teaches at the University of Basel, and is lecturing regularly in Germany, France, and Israel. Among her major publications: From Catastrophe to Power, Holocaust Survivors and the Emergence of Israel and Israel's Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood.

Akiva Eldar is currently a chief political columnist and editorial writer for the prestigious Israeli national daily Ha'aretz. His columns also appear regularly in the Ha'aretz-Herald Tribune edition. In May 2006 The Financial Times selected him among the most prominent and influential commentators in the world.

Mr Eldar was previously (1993-1996) the Ha'aretz US Bureau Chief and Washington correspondent, covering the Peace Process, US-Israel relations, American issues and Israel-Diaspora relations. Prior to this, from 1983-1993 Mr. Eldar was diplomatic correspondent for Ha'aretz and its municipal correspondent covering Jerusalem (1978-1983).


He has appeared many times on news programm such as Nightline, The Lehrer Show, Charlie Rose Show, CNN News and CBS Morning News, current affairs programs on Israeli television, as well as NPR talk shows.

Mr Eldar contributes to the op-ed pages of The New York Times, LA Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Jewish Week. Mr. Eldar has lectured extensively for the Jewish community and on campuses throughout the US, Canada and Australia and has participated in various Israeli-Arab-European seminars.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Shaun Jackson on November 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
'Lords of the Land' is unquestionably the definitive account of the settler movement written so far. It sets out in rich detail how successive Israeli governments, including Labour ones supported this disastrous enterprise. It chronicles how Sharon and others on the Israeli right were instrumental in the enterprise. Further then that - it details how intertwined the IDF and government ministries have been with the settlers.

Particularly interesting are the sections regarding the legal mechanisms that have been used over the years for the purpose of settlers aquiring land such as the earlier attempt in the Beth El case to cloke settlements as a "security" consideration to the more sophistacted attempts to turn land in the West Bank into "state land" and ultimately then land for the settlers.

Anyone who cares about peace between Israelis and Palestinian and a two-state solution ought to read this book. Anyone who may naively have thought the settlers were brave Zionist pioneers are likely to be disappointed - if anything, the settlers represent the very opposite - a distortion of Zionism.
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73 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Alex Bueno-Edwards on October 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A previous reviewer made the shocking (but incorrect) assertion that the legality of the settlements is somehow in question. She is absolutely incorrect. See Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which explicitly stipulates: "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."
Perhaps she should have read the footnotes of this excellent book, or just searched for the terms "prohibition on settlement of occupied territory" to see a comprehensive discussion of this question from a legal perspective.
Obviously many other people (not only the previous reviewer) may somehow fail to understand that the prohibition on settlement on occupied territory was designed specifically to prevent projects like the Nazi plans for Poland, in which large numbers of civilians were transferred to establish agricultural colonies in various areas. The prohibition is absolute and non-derogable (which means that a country can't opt out of it under certain conditions).
As such, the (il)legality of the settlements under international law is almost universally accepted, with the exception of a VERY small number of scholars seeking to justify this blatant breach of international humanitarian law (the law of war). This excellent book shows how the settlement movement has not only violated international humanitarian law, but also Israeli domestic law (see, for example, the Israeli Supreme Court decision ruling that settlements built on the land of the Palestinian village of Belin were illegal since they were built on land stolen from private owners, yet still allowing the Israeli settlers who broke into the unfinished buildings to remain in the homes).
An excellent, well-researched, and highly relevant book.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By D. ROSEN on January 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
(This review is of the Hebrew edition of the book). This is a very well written and extremely well investigated book looking into one of the great tragedies of modern times. Rather than try and use the territories captured in 1967 to help solve the Palestinian refugee problem created with its establishment in 1948, Israel decided to colonize them in a way that would make it very hard ever to disengage from them. This book looks at the process through which this occurred, as well as the effects subjugating another people for the last 40 years has had on Israeli society.
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69 of 85 people found the following review helpful By J. Ampang on October 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Outside of the United States, it is generally accepted that the Palestinian people are being treated unfairly and unjustly by Israel. Even many Israelis acknowledge it. This book helps people who want to understand how things got to be the way they are. It adds color and background to one's understanding of the situation. The only reason someone would give this book a one-star review is because it doesn't support or strengthen their world view.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lillian Douglas on July 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For all of those who love or are just interested in Israel and the idealistic dream it long represented this is must reading! The dream is still there but buried under thick layers of negative actions. So sad.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tess Alexander on September 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Deeply researched and well presented examination of post-1967 Israeli settlement in the West Bank and Gaza--the religious settlers' views and government policies--and the effects on Israel as well as Palestinians.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eric Maroney on September 7, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Zertal's and Eldar's Lords of the Land is an attempt to provide a comprehensive history of the settlement movement in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip after the 1967 Six Days War. Their study ends in 2007, after the unilateral disengagement of Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Their thesis is simple. Religious Zionist settlers have been engaged in the illegal activity of settling Gaza, the West Bank, or Judah and Samaria in their parlance, almost immediately after the capture of the territories after the war. And nearly everyone in Israeli society, but particularly its various governments, both left and right, has been complicit in the illegal takeover of Palestinian lands.

The author's see the motivation of this as multifaceted. The first is ineptitude. The Labor Party had no clear policy on the captured territories after the war, and were guided by nostalgia and muddled thinking regarding religious Zionist settlement. The right wing under Begin were supposed to be more lenient toward the settlement movement, but when it came time for negotiations with Egypt, did not have qualms about removing settlements in the Sinai, as Sharon would have little qualms doing the same in Gaza in 2006. The settlement movement found itself outside the mainstream of Israeli politics, a place it enjoyed. From their, they could act with impunity.

And through it all, the settlement movement maintained its steadfast commitment to more illegal settlements and outposts, threatening not only the peace process, but Israel's democratic structures.

The authors go out of their way to show the settlers, and their movement, in the most unflattering light. With their messianic zeal and uncompromising positions, their view, in the author's eyes, of the dream of Israel's destiny is one more shabby mobile home atop the Hebron Hills. Is this really how the dream of Greater Israel has manifested itself?
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