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A Durable Peace: Israel and its Place Among the Nations Hardcover – January 12, 2000
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Benjamin Netanyahu's primer on pro-Israel politics is an updated version of an earlier book, A Place Among the Nations. There's a good reason for the revision, of course: in the years since the first book was published, Netanyahu has served as the prime minister of Israel. Yet A Durable Peace is not a stale politician's memoir. It's a resounding plea for Israel's acceptance as a full member of the world community, as well as a call for understanding its unique security needs.
Netanyahu displays his knack--perfect for the television era but also helpful on these pages--for channeling complex ideas into pithy statements. Here's Netanyahu on the importance of Israel to the Jewish people: "If there had been a Jewish state in the first half of the [20th] century, there would have been no Holocaust. And if there had not been a Jewish state after the Holocaust, there would have been no Jewish future." On the need for Arab concessions in the peace process: "For the sake of peace, [the Arab states] must renounce their claims to part of the four ten-thousandths--.0004--of the lands they desire, which constitute the very heart of the Jewish homeland and the protective wall of the Jewish state." These are the statements of a skilled debater, and they represent a one-sided view of Middle Eastern politics. Yet Netanyahu also provides an excellent introduction to Zionism and the need to protect a small country against neighbors who have waged war against it. --John J. Miller
Top customer reviews
Never overly emotional - yet never timid about stating the facts - Mr. Netanyahu is utterly devastating about the truth of the history of Palestine, the ethnicities of those who've lived there, the history before and after the creation of Israel, the agreemnts sought and sometimes made, the realities of defense needs and populations.
The only difficulty in reading the book is that one becomes so frustrated by the clarity of the Israelis' claims and the deliberate ignorance and obtuse attitudes of the West about Israel and the Arabs. Every so often, I just get so irritated by the facts, that I have to walk away from the book and return later.
Mr. Netanyahu has done a fantastic job of describing the issues in Palestine - there is nothing "extremist" (the shrill accusation made when critics can't refute the facts) about his presentation because it's so grounded in history, reality.
Everyone who wishes to understand the Middle East should read this book - which is written very clearly, in a vivid style, and with a strong narrative drive that makes the reading fly by.
The only thing more I would ask is for a revised edition covering the period since 2000 when this revised edition was completed.
This is compelling stuff that will make very clear much of what you read (or don't get to read) in the newspapers.
Thank you, Mr. Netanyahu!
The first part of the book is a relatively brief synopsis of the relevant parts of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict with a special focus on the British Mandate to rebuild a national Jewish home as well as the myths and facts behind the so-called Arab refugee crisis. Netanyahu makes a clear and convincing case for the proposition that the Arab world created, enlarged, maintained and used the refugee situation as a weapon against Israel. He proves his case that the Palestinian Arabs have no moral "right" to either replace the Jewish state or to create a rump sovereign state on the West Bank and Gaza.
In the next part of the book, Netanyahu sets forth his geo-political philosophy which bears a striking resemblance to Churchillian/Reagan notions of deterrence through strength. He describes the two kinds of peace, the peace between democratic states such as today's France and Germany or the United States and Canada where security is simply not an issue and the peace between belligerent states such as exists between Israel and all its neighbors. Netanyahu points out that a nation dealing with a non-democracy can never risk its security in pursuit of a paper peace agreement. Even where a state of peace exists, a change of regime of the non-democratic state can lead to a repudiation of the treaty.
In the final part of the book, Netanyahu applies these ideas to the Israeli-Arab conflict. He is an expert on Israeli security issues and many of the things he has to say about Israel's security needs are not commonly known. For one thing, he writes of Israel's need for "strategic depth." Israel has a standing army of only 150,000 men. Thus, if attacked, she would need 2-3 days to fully mobilize her reserve forces. During these 2 or 3 days the standing army must hold the enemy at bay. If an attack came from a Palestinian state on all of the West Bank , this strategic depth would be gone. As Netanyahu argues convincingly, Israel cannot trust its security to the good will of a neighboring Palestine. This was true when the book was originally written in 1993. ....
Netanyahu does not argue for any of the radical right wing positions. Although he argues that the Arabs have no historical claim on Judea and Samaria and the Jews do, he does not advocate either expulsion or permanent Israeli military control. Instead he argues for granting the Arabs the right to control their own lives on a day to day basis and to avoid contact with Israelis if they so desire. He makes an unassailable argument, however, that Israel's security needs preclude the granting of a fully sovereign state on this territory. Unfortunately, the Arabs are not likely to accept this so continued conflict is the likely future. The book is well written and very concise. It is hard to argue with Netanyahu's logic and those not pre-disposed to reject his words will enjoy this book a great deal.
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