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The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 20. Oktober 2014

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A powerful overview of 50 years of policy. --Milton Viorst"

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11 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An Alternative View of the Conflict 9. Dezember 2014
Von David Lindsay - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
The Arab-Israeli conflict has seemingly gone on forever and the problems seems intractable. The Iron Wall questions the conventional American view that the Israelis have always been the good guys. The book was written by Avi Shlaim an Israeli historian who is a professor at Oxford University. Shlaim's parents immigrated to Israel in 1951. He served in the Israeli Army in the 1960s and since then has pursued an academic career in England. Shlaim is often employed by the BBC as an expert on the conflict. Your attitude to this book will depend on your politics, Shlaim's views will probably appeal more to Europeans than Americans.

The Iron Wall is well written and easy to read. It is also long at over 900 pages. The book starts in the 1890s when Theodor Herzl, a Hungarian journalist decided that the Jews should form their own state in Palestine. The European Jews who visited the region considered themselves superior to the peasant Arab farmers who occupied this backwater of the Ottoman Empire. Schlaim implies that they brought with them a colonialist mindset. He states that the Zionists believed it was important to befriend the great power of the day and they got into the habit of avoiding direct negotiation with the primitive Palestinians. Before 1945 this was Britain, and after 1945 it was the US. In 1917, Chaim Weizmann, a British citizen and government scientist, convinced the British foreign secretary to sign the Balfour Declaration. At that time the land belonged to Turkey and the Jews represented less than 10% of the population. Weizmann later became the first President of Israel.

Schlaim argues that the only way to establish a state with an overwhelming Jewish majority in an area populated overwhelmingly by non-Jews was to expel the non-Jews. The success of Zionism came at the expense of the Palestinians most of whom became refugees. Before the 1948 war Jews represented about 30% of Palestine's population. After the war, the Jewish share of the population of Israel was 82%. Israel claims that any ethnic cleansing was purely accidental.

Shlaim claims that David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first leader, established a preference for military over political solutions when dealing with the Arabs. Military conquest replaced political dialogue. As a result relations foundered and, at times, descended into war. Shlaim challenges the notion that Israel wanted an accommodation with the Palestinians. The phrase Iron Wall, is borrowed from a 1923 article by Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founding father of Revisionist Zionism. Jabotinsky viewed the creation of an unassailable Zionist power base - political, diplomatic, and military - as the only way to convince the Arabs to desist from their effort to obliterate the Jewish national cause. Shlaim claims that Jabotinsky intended that this would lead to a further stage where Israel would be strong enough to negotiate a satisfactory peace with its neighbors. This never happened. Shlaim's view is that Israel can only have peace with the Arabs when it is prepared to meet them half-way.

In the 1967 war Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Those areas have been occupied for nearly 50 years but the Arabs have never been granted Israeli citizenship. What to do about the occupied territories has been a problem ever since. There are over 500,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Shlaim disagrees that Prime Minister Barak made a "generous offer" at Camp David in 2000. He explains that the Palestinians wanted a return to the 1967 borders, including east Jerusalem. They also wanted a sovereign Palestinian state. This is what Clinton encouraged Arafat to believe was on offer if he attended the 2000 summit. Clinton was anxious to make history before he left office. Shlaim claims that Arafat was offered neither a credible peace nor a viable Palestinian state. Israel wanted to keep its settlements in place. This was an offer that Arafat could not accept.

Shlaim places the blame for the collapse of the peace process in 2000 squarely on Israel, which "reneged on its side of the deal." Clinton and Barak then claimed that there was no "Palestinian partner for peace" which was untrue. The success with which they propagated this fiction provided the basis for the subsequent ascendency of the right in Israeli politics. Shlaim claims that a `Palestinian partner' has existed since at least 1993 - in fact the Palestinian leadership and the Arab states have been calling for a two-state settlement since the late 1970s. More generally, Shlaim argues that to blame Palestinian rejectionism for the continued conflict is "completely inadequate and self-serving".

In Shlaim's view Prime Minister Netanyahu "is like a man who, while negotiating the division of a pizza, continues to eat it." The continued settler expansion in the West-Bank has made a "two state solution" more and more difficult. The settlers seem there to stay. The recent nationality law proposed by Netanyahu would exclude non-Jews in Israel from "national rights," while at the same time officially defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. This illustrates that a "one state solution" is also problematic. Israel cannot be both a state which discriminates against non-Jews and a democracy. Shlaim fears that Israel will become like apartheid South Africa.

Shlaim believes that the US is no longer perceived as an honest broker by the Palestinians, especially after Camp David. The U.S. does not seem able to control Israel's leaders. Shlaim quotes the still-relevant words of Moshe Dayan, who delivered the 1967 victory. "Our American friends give us money, arms and advice. We take the money, we take the arms but we decline the advice." Bill Clinton comes across in Shlaim's narrative as weak, duplicitous, and biased. The reality is that Israel would not be able to survive for very long without American support. In the diplomatic arena, Israel relies on America to shield it from the consequences of its habitual violations of international law. Shlaim wants the US to bring Israel into line before it becomes an international pariah.

As a reader of the New York Times, Shlaim did not present a version of the conflict that I fully recognized. The Palestinians are usually depicted as dangerous, unreasonable and irrational. The Iron Wall is a fascinating read.
4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Excellent Overview of Palestine and Israeli Policy 29. November 2014
Von Charlie Foxtrot - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Excellent Overview of Palestine and Israeli Policy. One of the best overviews. Takes everything chronologically so things fit into context Not as repetitious as many.
Unbiased and indispensable 15. Juli 2015
Von Alex Boylston - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
This is probably the most extensive and informative book you can find about Israeli-Arab relations. It is written by a man with no political agenda motivating him who instead of trying to make a case for something (such as Zionism) just puts all of the facts out there for the reader to see and deduce conclusions from. Out of 816 pages of text I only disagreed with two statements in this book (related to the Six Day War and partition), meaning that this book is simply loaded with irrefutable facts and should be read by all wishing to learn the truth about Israel and its Arab neighbors.
I learnt many things about Israel which I really ignored ... 21. Juli 2015
Von Manfred Finkhaeuser - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
I learnt many things about Israel which I really ignored. Being married to a woman of Jewish extract I'm very much interested in everything related to the subject. But sorry to read that PRACTICALLY ALL THE LEADING ISRAELI POLITICIANS avoided every possibility to make peace with the Arab population using all excuses they found or could create. For what purpose? To live constantly at a war-like situation does not help anybody an d is possible only with massive financial help from the USA. What kind of a life is that? Can one call this the fullfilment of the Jewish dream?
What I particularly enjoyed about it was that it didn't have a bias 9. Mai 2015
Von Marie Nimie - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
This book was extremely informative. What I particularly enjoyed about it was that it didn't have a bias. It presents history for what it is.
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